Dhaka Chongqing Direct Flight: The Next Possibility
Md Shahadat Hossain
The name of Kunming was almost unknown to the common people of Bangladesh even just before the China Eastern Air Lines started operation since May 2005 with great success between Kunming and Dhaka. Not only that, since then the people of both China and Bangladesh are being able to reach each others capital in the same day. Travel and the business became even more convenient when China Southern Airlines, based in Guangzhou in the Guangdong province of China, has launched a direct flight since August 2009 between Guangzhou in China and capital Dhaka of Bangladesh due to which now visitors from Dhaka can reach China’s capital Beijing, major trade city Shanghai and many other important cities of china within the same day and also Chinese visitors may reach Dhaka from all those cities of China also within the same day. It is indeed the easy air communication which has brought the people of both these countries more closer for mutual trade, tourism, cultural exchanges, sports and all other activities. Due to these air routes mainly, Bangladesh-China over all cooperation has now become more strengthened than ever before.
Because Dhaka is now directly connected to China’s Hong Kong, Kunming and Guangzhou, so, more and more people from both the countries are traveling to each other’s country every day which has facilitated easy access and thus increased the over all business environment too. However, due well known huge trade deficit between Bangladesh and China, China has already offered to extend duty-free access to nearly 5,000 Bangladeshi products in a major goodwill. According to the offer, 4,721 goods would be granted duty-free access in China provided at least 40% value of the merchandises is added in Bangladeshi shore. To gain maximum from such goodwill gesture and also as more and more people from both countries have also increased traveling to each others’ country, now it is time to possibly start another direct air route between China and Bangladesh and the next appropriate route could possibly be Dhaka-Chongqing.
Yes. Chongqing, the name which is possibly still unknown to the common people of Bangladesh, the way Kunming was once unknown too. However the readers who have been following the working visit of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore to China from 6 to 13 September 2010, must have followed that interestingly the visit started from Chongqing. He would also visit the cities of Changsha (Hunan province), Wuhan (Hubei province), Suzhou (Jiangsu province) and the municipalities of Shanghai to visit Expo 2010 Shanghai, China. From this visit program the importance of present Chongqing in particular and the other mentioned cities in general may be well understood from a simple analysis.
Chongqing, the largest city in China, is a port city with the largest municipal area of 82,400 square kilometers (31, 800 square miles) and total population over 30 million, in China. It is situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers in southwest China. Chongqing shares borders with the provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Shaanxi. Since its founding 3,000 years ago, Chongqing has been called Jiangzhou, Yuzhou, and Gongzhou, before getting its present name nearly 800 years ago. Today, Chongqing is a modern city, China’s fourth municipality after Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Within its borders Chongqing encompasses a wealth of water reserves, mineral resources, dense forests, and abundant flora and fauna. The focal point of the unique Yangtze Three Gorges Dam, Chongqing is now a tourist attraction as well as a commercial city.
In the past, the city suffered severe bombing in Japanese raids during the war. This destruction, coupled with ambitious development in recent years, economic development of Chongqing has been aided by the completion of an expressway to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, in 1997 cutting journey times from eight to four hours, faster road links planned with Wuhan and Shanghai, and the construction of more bridges across the rivers that bisect Chongqing. Chongqing, which was until recently the second key city in it’s province, now rates as the chief industrial city of south west China, while the provincial capital of Sichuan, Chengdu, serves as the retail and financial centre. In 1997, Chongqing was granted the status of municipality directly under the central government. It is one of four such cities in the country, and the only one in western China. The patronage of former premier Li Peng (the driving force behind the Three Gorges dam project on the Yangtze) and Deng Xiaoping (a native of the Chongqing area) are said to have been key to this elevation. The central government is now promoting Chongqing as one of the major hubs for economic growth and reform under the western development strategy.
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport is about twenty-one kilometers northeast of Chongqing in Lianglu Town, Yubei District. Covering an area of about 2,860,000 square meters (707 acres), the airport has a 4E standard flight area; a 1,050 square meter (11,302 square feet) terminal building; a 3,200 meter (3,500 yards) runway and thirty-one gate positions. The airport offers about seventy air routes and connects over fifty domestic cities and four foreign cities. This airport started operating since January 22, 1990. Since 2006 to 2009 it’s passenger throughput were 8, 10, and 14 million people respectively retaining its position as China’s top ten airports, and one of the world’s top 100 airports. Currently, the airport can meet the annual passenger throughput of 15 million passengers, cargo and mail throughput of 300,000 tons of production. This International Airport, ranking among the top 10 airports in China for five consecutive years, began reconstruction and expansion in early 2000. After the project is completed, Chongqing will become the largest aviation hub in the central and western regions of China.
Airport clearance in good condition , the advanced air traffic control facilities , with I, II second radar control systems and instrument landing system, I type way , for B-747, A340 and other types of large aircraft taking off and landing , have opened direct flights to Europe, Australia , etc. In terms of long-range international routes , the airport open 24 hours . For a long time , Chongqing Airport Group Co., Ltd. in accordance with the “safety first , normal flight , and quality service , ” the general requirements of civil aviation work , pay close attention to the implementation of rules and regulations , the successful realization of higher authorities issued the security objectives , production , service, efficiency, reform and other work with remarkable results.
To meet the rapid development production it has started a comprehensive Phase III expansion project in 2007 (the second runway , II class of instrument landing systems and supporting facilities ), and by the end of 2010, with the expansion of the runway and supporting facilities upon completion, the realization of two- track operation, terminal area will reach 180,000 square meters , will meet the airport in aircraft movements 260,000 vehicles , the annual passenger throughput of 30 million passengers and 450,000 tons of annual freight throughput needs .
In view of it’s present and future potentialities from all point of view it would be better if there could be any direct flights between Chongqing and Dhaka. Presently Chongqing has it’s own air lines named Chongqing Airlines, jointly owned by China Southern Airlines (60%) and Chongqing Municipal Development & Investment Company (40%). This airline was established on 16th June 2007, and received its operating license from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on 4 July 2007. We also know that presently many Bangladeshi private air lines are also operating internationally besides it’s own national flag career Biman Bangladesh Airlines. That means the initiative of starting direct flights between Dhaka and Chongqing may be undertaken by any of these air lines having necessary coordination and permission from national levels. It is assumed that such initiative would definitely bring more success of both countries for trade, tourism, culture, sports and all other sectors.
It is also hoped that this small write-up would possibly attract the eyes of all concern airlines in particular and concern authorities of both the countries in general to study the suitability of this new direct air route. It may specially be mentioned that the writer of this paper once had the opportunity to interact with the Chairman of Civil Aviation Chongqing and the CEO of Chongqing Airport Group Co., Ltd who really showed their keen interests for establishing the direct air link with Dhaka. That means the matter might be more easier for any such cooperation to start the initiative and thus to find the earliest scope like China Eastern or China Southern airlines to land in Dhaka or any Bangladeshi air lines landing at Chongqing. Today while typing this paper, I had been flying between Dhaka and Chongqing in my imagination, however, hope soon we would be able to fly in the same route in reality and the days are not so far away. (It is acknowledged that the data mentioned in this article are taken from various on line but authentic web links).