Osmani International Airport

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MAG Osmani International Airport
ওসমানী আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর
Osmani Antarjātik Bimānabandar
ZYL is located in Bangladesh
Location of airport in Bangladesh
Airport type Public
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh
Serves Sylhet
Location Sylhet
Elevation AMSL 50 ft / 15 m
Coordinates 24°57′48″N 91°52′01″E / 24.96333°N 91.86694°E / 24.96333; 91.86694Coordinates: 24°57′48″N 91°52′01″E / 24.96333°N 91.86694°E / 24.96333; 91.86694
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 9,646 2,940 Asphalt/Concrete
Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh[1]

MAG Osmani International Airport (IATA: ZYLICAO: VGSY) (Bengali: ওসমানী আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর) is an international airport located 5 miles north-east of Sylhet in Bangladesh. The airport is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and is served by Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national airline which at one point earned most of its revenue from this airport,[2] The airport handles only 4% of air traffic in Bangladesh. Private airlines United Airways, Regent Airways and Novoair operate domestic flights in the airport.

The vast majority of passengers using the airport are expatriate Bangladeshis and their descendants from the Sylhet Division living in the United Kingdom.

Only the state airline Biman operates inbound international flights—from London, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai; and seasonal direct flights to Jeddah during the Hajj season.


The old building of Osmani International Airport

Osmani International Airport was built during British rule of the Indian Subcontinent, partly to check Japanese aggression from Burma.

The airport was formerly known as Sylhet Civil Airport but was renamed after General M A G Osmani, a Sylheti Bangladeshi Independence War hero.


The airport was initially served by domestic flights from Shahjalal International Airport by the country's national airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines. After many years of lobbying by expatriates living in the UK, limited expansion of the airport was carried out to enable medium-sized aircraft, such as the Airbus A310 used by Biman, to operate. The work was completed in October 2002 and the airport was designated an international airport by the government. However, the airport was not up to international standards to be capable of fully accommodating international flights due to many shortcomings with the instrument landing system and runway lighting system and was seen as a move to stave off pressure by the government.

Two boarding bridge just installed on new appron.

Nevertheless, on 3 November 2002, the airport received its first international arrival. Biman flight BG020 from Kuwait via Abu Dhabi landed at 10:05 with 215 passengers en route to Dhaka.[3] The disembarking passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted by then Finance & Planning Minister, M Saifur Rahman and State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Mir Mohammad Nasiruddin. For a brief period, Biman also operated a direct service from London but was later re-routed via Dhaka.

Interior view of Osmani international airport.

Additional expansion of the runway and improvements to the runway lighting and airport facilities were commenced in 2004 to enable wide-bodied aircraft to safely land and takeoff from the airport.[4][5]

The South Asia Transport and Trade Facilitation Conference report of 2006 (by the United States Trade and Development Agency) noted that the development of the airport "up to the standards of [an] international airport" to "encourage private sector participation in air transport" were projects that were under consideration by the government.[6]

Work started in 2006 to upgrade the terminal facilities to enable handling of international flights. The improvements include construction of a new terminal building, two Jetways and a taxi-way.[7] In May 2007, the foreign affairs adviser, informed journalists that the works were on scheduled for completion in June 2007.[8] He also confirmed that Biman will be operating Hajj flights directly from the airport during the Hajj season later in 2007.[9] However, the runway expansion works had not been completed in June with the foreign affairs adviser indicating in August that "minor dressing work" still remained.[10] The work was finally finished in December 2008.[11][12]

Under a new program the airport will be getting a new refuelling system, expansion of the airport and runway, new instruments for control tower and runway, new terminal, 6 more Jetways and modern lighting instruments. The project was supposed to start at 2011 but due to land requisition had delayed the project, however work will start anytime in 2012. Smooth operation of international flights were halted due to lack of re-fueling system in the airport. After the project any foreign airlines' jumbo jets like Airbus A330, or Boeing 777 could land easily.[13]

Biman operates a Boeing 777-300ER three times a week directly from London and once a week from Jeddah to drop passengers off before heading back to Dhaka. This facility isn't available yet on the outward journey(s) due to lack of proper refuelling station at Sylhet airport. Passengers for those journeys have to fly out from Dhaka for non-stop flights to London and Jeddah.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Abu Dhabi1, Dhaka, Doha1, Dubai-International1, London-Heathrow1, Jeddah1
Novoair Dhaka
United Airways Dhaka

^1 Inbound flights only.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 22 December 1997, Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG-609 carrying 85 passengers and 4 crew, operated by a Fokker F28-4000, crashed onto a paddy field 5.6 kilometres from the foot of the runway in heavy fog, on final approach from Dhaka. 17 passengers were injured.[14]
  • On 8 October 2004, Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG-601 carrying 79 passengers and 4 crew, operated by a Fokker F28-4000, inbound from Dhaka overran the wet runway and ended up in a ditch. Two passengers were injured.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ "Aerodrome Information: Osmani International Airport, Sylhet". Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. 
  2. ^ "Sylhet Osmani airport a nightmare for passengers". The Daily Star. 13 July 2003. Retrieved 23 May 2007. 
  3. ^ "Biman launches Kuwait-Sylhet flight". Aviatour. 22 November 2002. 
  4. ^ "Development of Osmani International Airport". Central Procurement Technical Unit. April 2005. 
  5. ^ "Upgraded Osmani International Airport opens up for traffic". South Asia Logistics. 13 March 2006. 
  6. ^ "2006 South Asia Transport and Trade Facilitation Conference report (PDF)" (PDF). US Trade and Development Agency. 11 October 2005. 
  7. ^ "Osmani Airport expansion work begins in July". The Daily Star. 13 May 2004. 
  8. ^ "Construction work of Osmani International Airport contract". Central Procurement Technical Unit. April 2006. 
  9. ^ "Runway expansion at Osmani Airport nearing completion". New Age. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2007. 
  10. ^ "ZIA soon to get upgraded runway". The Bangladesh Monitor. 1 August 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007. 
  11. ^ "Operation of wide-bodied planes starts in Sylhet today". The New Nation. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Modernised Terminal of Osmany Int'l Airport opens". The Bangladesh Monitor. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Project work to start soon as BPC gets land". The Daily Star. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Aviation-Safety.net report "Aviation Safety". Aviation-Safety. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 

External links[edit]