Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) is under pressure from the United States after announcing it was launching direct flights between Dhaka and Rome Fiumicino as its planned route involved transiting Iranian airspace.

“The US is not allowing us to pay Iran for overflying charges on the grounds of its sanctions on the country. If we cannot pay overflying charges to Iran, it will not allow us to overfly,” Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported citing company officials who wanted to remain anonymous.

As a result, state-owned Biman may be forced to change its flight path. In that case, it would have to fly over three additional countries, prolong its flight time by 90 minutes and consequently increase its operational costs, particularly for fuel.

The airline informed the US via Bangladesh’s foreign ministry that this is a commercial passenger route and that it is not planning to fly to Iran against existing sanctions, but it has yet to receive a response. Biman had not replied to ch-aviation’s request for comment by the time this article was published.

The flight was initially set to fly over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Türkiye, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina before arriving in Italy.

Biman started selling tickets for its Rome flights on February 15, as it announced it was resuming operations on the route after nine years. The first is supposed to take place on March 26 and the airline plans code-sharing with Italian airlines to connect Italy’s largest cities with Bangladesh.

Rome will be operated with a B787. According to ch-aviation fleets data, Biman’s 21-aircraft fleet includes six company-owned B787s: four B787-8s and two B787-9s, all between four and six years old.