DHAKA: Biman Bangladesh Airlines is hamstrung by a serious shortage of aircraft in the national carrier’s fleet.
Biman got patronage from the government for restoring its route to different countries previously, but, recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism opened up the aviation market.
US aircraft-manufacturing company Boeing signed a deal with Biman to provide 10 aircraft.
“It will take time to get those aircraft. During this time, Boeing will help Biman to get aircraft on lease, but they didn’t keep their word,” said a competent source.
Sources also informed that of the ten, Biman would get two airplanes this year and, in the meantime, Biman’s routes have been occupied by different airlines.
Recently, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, RAK airways and Itihad airlines are operating flights from Dhaka and Chittagong. Many other airlines have submitted application for permission to operate flight from Dhaka, the sources added.
Earlier, Biman had 26 routes connecting different countries, but, at present, the national flag carrier flies on 18 routes. Due to aircraft shortages another few routes could be closed.
Biman sources informed that during last 40 years, government had been very aware about Biman’s interests. For this reason, flight from Dhaka was restricted for other airliners. Now the government is reluctant about it.
“That’s why during the last two years, 5 to 7 airlines got permission to operate flight,” one source told banglanews.
Muhammad Jakiul Islam, Managing Director and CEO of Biman, told banglanews that no doubt many airlines are operating flights, breaking Biman’s monopoly in the recent past. “For the shortage of aircraft, Biman has suspended operation on few routes in the last two years.”
Kazi Wahidul Alam, Aviation expert and former Board-of-Directors member of Biman, said during the last 40 years, the government of Bangladesh had supported Biman in various ways and it was the first priority to maintain Biman’s interests.
In spite of that, Biman has disappointed its passengers. Over the last 4 decades, Biman had “harassed passengers”.
Due to aircraft shortage Biman was forced to cancel Dhaka-London direct flight on February 3.
Sources informed that Biman had signed agreement in 2010 with Euro Atlanta to get two Boeing 777 ER aircraft. Euro Atlanta gave one. To get another two aircraft Biman has signed agreement with Pacific aircraft lease management.
Biman has closed down 8 routes due to recurrent loss and aircraft shortages. Not only that, in recent times, it has scaled down operations on Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuwait Jeddah, Abu Dhabi routes.
At present Biman has 10 aircraft in their emaciated fleet.
BDST: 2220 HRS, FEB 05, 2011
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