The UK Department of Transport (DoT) will allow direct cargo flights to resume between Bangladesh and the UK, after security improvements at Dhaka airport.

London halted cargo services from the Asian nation in March 2016 after concerns were raised over standards of security at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The concerns are believed to have included inadequate management oversight and ease of access to cargo facilities. Bangladesh Biman, the national carrier, was the sole airline that handled direct cargo flights to the UK.

The Bangladeshi government appointed a UK company, Redline Assured Security, to examine arrangements at Hazrat Shahjalal; the company said it had assisted “through changing the poor security culture that had resulted in their air cargo being deemed unsafe.”

The lifting of the ban was made this week in a brief statement from the DoT: “Following ongoing cooperation with the government of Bangladesh on the standards of aviation security at Dhaka International Airport, the Department of Transport has removed the interim restrictions suspending the carriage of cargo on direct flights from Dhaka to the UK. The UK government will continue to work with the government of Bangladesh to support ongoing improvement in standards for all aspects of aviation security.”

However, although the overall ban has been lifted, a DoT spokeswoman confirmed to ATW that Bangladeshi carriers would still have to have their cargo operations validated by the UK or European Union (EU) before they could carry cargo to the UK or the EU again.

According to Bangladeshi media reports, a team of EU inspectors has been in-country over the past week checking security arrangements.

Alan Dron