The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has rejected a proposal to grant fifth freedom rights to airlines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the UAE sought permission to operate flights from Bangladesh to third countries, the CAAB rejected this proposal amid concerns it would hinder the growth of local airlines. 

The third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is still under construction, so it is not possible to increase the number of flights until it is completed. In the meantime, the CAAB has reached an agreement with the Emirate of Fujairah to establish air service between the two countries, dependent on their respective airport capacities.

In my opinion, the decision by the CAAB to reject the proposal is understandable given the concerns raised about the growth of local airlines. It is important to prioritize the interests of the local aviation industry, particularly as it can play a significant role in the economic development of Bangladesh. However, as the two countries have left the door open for a future agreement, it could still be possible to grant fifth freedom rights in the future.

I believe that air travel between Bangladesh and the UAE will grow in the next decade as both countries have expressed a desire to increase flight operations. Additionally, there is a large Bangladeshi community living in the UAE, which could drive demand for air travel. This, in turn, could create business opportunities for both Bangladeshi travellers and the Bangladeshi tourism sector. For example, it could lead to an increase in the number of tourists visiting Bangladesh, particularly those from the UAE. It could also create opportunities for Bangladeshi businesses to expand their operations in the UAE, and vice versa.