Osmani International Airport
|Operator||Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh|
|Elevation AMSL||50 ft / 15 m|
Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh
Osmani Airport (Bengali: ওসমানী আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর, Osmānī antorjatik bimanbondor) (IATA: ZYL, ICAO: VGSY) is third largest airport in Bangladesh after Dhaka and Chittagong. The airport is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) and is served by Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national airline, which at one point earned most of its revenue from this airport. Private airlines Novoair and US-Bangla Airlines operate domestic flights to Dhaka. The vast majority of passengers using the airport are expatriate Bangladeshis and their descendants from the Sylhet Division living in the United Kingdom.
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, Commander in Chief of Independence War of Bangladesh as well as of Muktijuddho in 1971.
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 the designation was seen as a move to stave off pressure by the government.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. In May 2007, the foreign affairs adviser, informed journalists that the works were on scheduled for completion in June 2007. He also confirmed that Biman will be operating Hajj flights directly from the airport during the Hajj season later in 2007. 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. The work was finally finished in December 2008.
In 2010 the decision was made to construct a refueling station. Construction work began in January 2012. In January 2014 the Project Director Aminul Haq stated that the project was 70% complete.
On 1 April 2015, Flydubai resumed foreign airline service to Sylhet with its flight from Dubai–International. Flydubai's introduction of nonstop flights from Dubai became the first international flights to Sylhet since the airport's "international" designation 18 years prior. The service was operated through a codeshare agreement with Bangladeshi airline Regent Airways. However, because Biman Bangladesh Airlines had refused to provide ground handling services, the route was cancelled the next day. Stranded passengers held a demonstration in response on 6 April, 2015. On November 2016, Flydubai decided to start its flight again from Sylhet to the Middle East. This flight is currently set to end on 7 September 2018.
Airlines and destinations
As of March 2019, the following airlines provide service to and from Sylhet:
|Biman Bangladesh Airlines||Dubai–International, Dhaka|||
|US-Bangla Airlines||Dhaka|||
Biman Bangladesh Airlines operates some domestic services between Sylhet and Dhaka which arrive from international destinations such as Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha and London thus providing a direct inbound only service to Sylhet from those cities. Outbound from Sylhet to those cities involve a domestic flight to Dhaka and continuing on using an international one. This anomaly should be rectified after a 2 years' long upgradation project of Sylhet airport at a cost of ৳492 crore (US$58 million). This includes strengthening of the runway and taxiway for heavy takeoff weight.
|Bismillah Airlines||Dhaka, Cox's Bazar|||
Accidents and incidents
- 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.
- 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.
- "Aerodrome Information: Osmani Airport, Sylhet". Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
- "Sylhet Osmani airport a nightmare for passengers". The Daily Star. 13 July 2003. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
- "Biman launches Kuwait-Sylhet flight". Aviatour. The Weekly Holiday. 22 November 2002. Archived from the original on 4 February 2005.
- "Development of Osmani International Airport". Central Procurement Technical Unit. April 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
- "Upgraded Osmani International Airport opens up for traffic". South Asia Logistics. 13 March 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
- "2006 South Asia Transport and Trade Facilitation Conference Briefing Book" (PDF). US Trade and Development Agency. 11 October 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007.
- "Osmani Airport expansion work begins in July". The Daily Star. 13 May 2004.
- "Construction work of Osmani International Airport contract". Central Procurement Technical Unit. April 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
- "Runway expansion at Osmani Airport nearing completion". New Age. United News of Bangladesh (UNB). 12 May 2007. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
- "ZIA soon to get upgraded runway". The Bangladesh Monitor. 1 August 2007. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007.
- "Operation of wide-bodied planes starts in Sylhet today". New Age. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 11 July 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- "International flights soon from Sylhet Osmani Airport". Dhaka Tribune. 27 January 2014.
- Nahar, Kamrun (4 May 2015). "Confusion crops up over granting of permission". The Financial Express. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "Foreign carriers yet to start regular direct flights to Sylhet". The Financial Express. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "FLIGHT CANCELLATION AT SYLHET AIRPORT: Passengers hold demo". New Age Bangladesh. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- "Govt to upgrade Sylhet airport at a cost of Tk 492cr". The Daily Star. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Fokker F-28 Fellowship 4000 S2-ACJ Sylhet Civil Airport (ZYL)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "CAAB requests Padma to set up jet refuelling facility at Osmani". New Age. 1 November 2007. Archived from the original on 7 November 2007.
Media related to Osmani International Airport at Wikimedia Commons