Biman flights disrupted as pilots protest

image captionBiman employs more than 100 pilots

Flights by Bangladesh's state-owned airline, Biman, have been severely disrupted due to a protest by pilots.

About 50 pilots called in sick after four colleagues were suspended in a row over plans to raise retirement age and reduce benefits, a spokesman said.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at three international airports.

Reports said Biman officials, with previous flying experience, were being drafted in to prevent flights from being grounded.

On Monday, Biman grounded four pilots accused of leading protests against the airline's plans to raise pilots' retirement age to 62 from 57 years and trim their benefits.

"Our members will not operate any scheduled flights unless the decision [to suspend the four pilots] is revoked," news agency AFP quoted the acting head of the Bangladesh Airlines Pilots Association (BAPA), Zakir Hussain, as saying.

"We will only carry Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia," he said.

Biman employs more than 100 pilots, officials say.

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