Menon urges UK to lift air cargo ban

Bangladesh has urged the United Kingdom (UK) to withdraw the temporary embargo imposed on direct air cargo transportation to the UK from Bangladesh.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon made the request as British high commissioner Alison Blake called on him at his secretariat office here today.

The minister urged the British envoy to play a role in lifting the temporary embargo imposed by the British Transport Department earlier this year, said a release of the ministry.

Informing the necessary security measures taken by the government at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Menon said the security arrangement at the airport has been upgraded to international level, adding that a UK-based consultation farm - Red Line Securities - has been working with the airport authority in Dhaka from March for overall improvement of security of the airport.

The envoy told the minister that the UK government is observing intently the changed security arrangement of the airport and foreign ministries of both the countries are working to this end too.

The UK envoy however assured the government that the embargo would be withdrawn in a short time.

In March this year, the UK banned air cargo directly from Dhaka as Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport failed to meet some international security requirements.

On March 8, 2016, a web post on the UK government's website said: "As part of a set of interim measures, cargo will not be allowed on direct flights from Dhaka to the UK until further notice."

Their assessments of the airport found that some international security requirements were not being met, it said.

"Airlines carrying cargo between Bangladesh and the UK on indirect routes are being asked to ensure it is re-screened before its final leg into the UK," read the post.

Only the Biman Bangladesh Airlines carries cargo directly to the UK in its four weekly passenger flights but it remains completely stopped due to the ban, according to officials of the national flag carrier.

An average of 25 tonnes of cargo -- mostly apparels, vegetables and agricultural products - used to be flown to the UK in each flight.

Aviation and Tourism Ministry Secretary Shawpan Kumar Sarker and additional secretary AHM Ziaul Haq were present at meeting.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)