DHAKA: ‘Palki’, a new-generation aircraft named after a much-sought-after transport of the good old days—palanquin--will reach here soon to join the Biman fleet.
A 13-member team will leave Dhaka on Monday night to bring the aircraft from Seattle in the United States. The Palki will fly in Dhaka on October 22.
The brand-new aircraft of Boeing would be inducted into the emaciated Biman fleet ahead of the schedule.
Asadujjaman, Director (engineering), is leading the delegation that comprises 4 pilots, 5 engineers, one cabin crew, one accountant and an official in catering services.
“According to the purchase agreement with Boeing, the first Boeing 777-300 ER was supposed to join the state-run airline in November while second one in December,” said a competent source.
Biman has ordered 10 aircraft from the world-famous aircraft- manufacturing company, Boeing.
Of them, 463-seat Boeing 777-300 ER is named `Palki’ by Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The next one, named ‘Arun Alo’, will arrive here middle of November.
Boeing’s own pilot will operate the 777-300 to reach the aircraft to Dhaka as Biman didn’t train its own pilot yet. It will take 15 hours to fly in here.
“It`s the first time in Biman’s 40-year history that the national flag-carrier is purchasing aircraft directly from the manufacturer--and it is being done transparently,” said one official.
To buy 10 aircraft Biman received syndicated loan from nine local banks at 4.57 percent interest.
The sources said Biman would operate this new-generation aircraft in the next winter season.
At present, 12 cabin crews are getting training in Seattle. The cabin crew will be back in Dhaka on board the Palki. All staff members will stay in Seattle 11 days to know about different matters, including technical and operational tips.
An engineer of Biman, who recently visited the Boeing factory in Seattle, told banglanews that all tests had been completed when he visited the factory on 25 September. They are working to set the seat while painting is going on.
Chief engineer of Biman Debobrato Banik told banglanews that just after arrival of the aircraft in Dhaka, Biman will start all processes to fly it on new regular flight.
Biman has already laid off around 2,000 workers and suspended eight loss-making international flights and flights on four domestic routes under its restructuring drive.
The eight new aircraft will cost 1.26 billion dollars with each 777-300ER costing 182 million dollars and 787-8 plane 133 million dollars.
Biman signed an agreement in April 15, 2008. Boeing will hand over two more 463-seater 777-3003Rs between July and August 2013 and the 294-seat 787-8 between July and December 2019.
The national carrier started in 1972 with a vintage Dakota DC-3 aircraft, less than a month after the South Asian nation won independence from Pakistan.
Its current fleet includes four 32-year-old DC-10 aircraft which officials say must be replaced within a short span of time.
BDST: 1855 HRS, OCT 06, 2011
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