US-Bangla Airlines (BS, Dhaka) says it will add a pair of A330-200s to its fleet in May 2023 ahead of planned flights between Dhaka and Jeddah, Dammam, and Riyadh from June 2023 to cater to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims as well as expatriate travellers.

The airline already flies to four Gulf destinations - Doha Hamad International, Muscat, Dubai International, and Sharjah, but does not fly to Saudi Arabia and to date, has used B737-800s on its Gulf flights. The incoming Airbus aircraft, which will seat 218 passengers each, will be the first widebody planes to enter the US-Bangla Airlines fleet. ch-aviation has contacted the airline for further details about the aircraft.

US-Bangla Airlines will take on Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) and Saudia (SV, Jeddah) on the Bangladesh - Saudi Arabia country pair. According to ch-aviation capacities data, the two airlines currently offer around 39,000 seats a week on the country pair, with Saudi having a 56.11% market share and Biman Bangladesh Airlines having a 43.11% market share. Saudi uses B777-300(ER)s on its flights to and from Bangladesh with Biman using a combination of B777-300ER, B787-8, and B787-9 aircraft.

In October 2022, CEO Lutfar Rahman flagged acquiring A330s to cater to network growth. However, he did not provide any additional details regarding the aircraft type, their source, or firm delivery timelines. Presently, the airline flies three DHC-8-Q400s, seven ATR72-600s, and seven B737-800s to 19 destinations in 10 countries.

In addition to the two A330s, US-Bangla Airlines also said it will receive another B737-800 and ATR72-600 this month to improve network capacity. The airline expects a 40% increase in daily passenger numbers this year compared to 2022.