Domestic flights in Bangladesh have been suspended until July 14, 2021, in line with a strict week-long COVID-19 lockdown following a spike in the highly infectious Delta variant in the country.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), in a regulatory notice, announced the temporary downing of all types of domestic passenger flights from July 1 to 7, with the exception of medevac and humanitarian flights and cargo operations, and then extended the moratorium until July 14.

All airports remain open and international passenger services are permitted to continue operating. CAAB officials are working remotely, except for emergencies.

Al Jazeera and Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the army and the police had been deployed to stop people from leaving their homes except for emergencies or to buy essentials. By July 4, the country was recording an average of more than 7,000 new COVID-19 cases daily. To date, Bangladesh has recorded 944,917 cases and just over 15,000 deaths linked to the virus.

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, the domestic lockdown affects the following airlines: Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka), NovoAir (VQ, Dhaka), and US-Bangla Airlines (BS, Dhaka).

Biman Bangladesh Airlines, in a statement, announced the cancellation of all domestic flights until July 8, except for a small number from Dhaka to Chittagong, Sylhet, and Cox's Bazar for international transit passengers. It added that all ticket holders of cancelled flights would be able to use them for future travel without further charges.

US-Bangla said it would conduct limited domestic flights during the lockdown for international transit passengers only, who will have to present their international flight tickets to check in on these domestic sectors.

NovoAir cancelled all flights until July 7, requesting all passengers to change their bookings without charge, according to an announcement on its website.

Domestic carrier Regent Airways (RX, Dhaka) has not flown since the first lockdown in March 2020.

Editorial Comment: Updates with extension to July 14. - 06.07.2021 - 08:18 UTC