Strike halts flights at main Bangladesh airport

Jan 09, 2013 - 10:14
  • Relatives and friends of passengers wait outside Bangladesh's Hazrat Shahjalal International airport in Dhaka on January 8, 2013. PHOTO/ AFP

DHAKA, Jan 9, 2013 (AFP) - Flights at Bangladesh's main international airport ground to a halt Tuesday after staff at the state-owned carrier Biman went on strike over a pay dispute.

Thousands of passengers were stuck at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital Dhaka as hundreds of Biman officials stopped ground handling operations.

Biman's main union called the strike to demand a hike in wages, improved benefits and for hundreds of temporary workers to be made full-time.

"After they enforced the strike, no flight could take off from the airport," said Nazmul Anam, a director of the country's civil aviation authority.

Anam said three international flights did manage to land in the early morning but passengers were still stuck in the airport as they could not retrieve their luggage.

Khan Mosharraf Hossain, a spokesman for Biman, confirmed that the carrier had not been able to operate any of its flights but added that negotiations were taking place in a bid to end the dispute.

"The civil aviation minister is in the airport talking with the union leaders as we speak," he told AFP.

At least 40 international flights fly out of the airport every day and 45 aircraft land, according to the civil aviation authority.

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