Flights at Bangladesh's main international airport ground to a halt on Tuesday after staff at the state-owned carrier Biman went on strike over a pay dispute.

Thousands of passengers were stuck at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka as hundreds of Biman officials stopped ground handling operations.

Biman's main union called the strike to demand a hike in wages, improved benefits and for hundreds of temporary workers to be made full-time. "After they enforced the strike, no flight could take off from the airport," said Nazmul Anam, a director of the country's civil aviation authority.

Anam said three international flights did manage to land in the early morning.

At least 40 international flights fly out of the airport every day and 45 aircraft land, according to the civil aviation authority.AFP