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Biman to close domestic flights except Ctg, Sylhet PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 March 2008

UNB, Dhaka

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines Limited will not operate any domestic flight except on the Sylhet and Chittagong routes as the national flag carrier is eyeing to establish itself as a world class airliner.

The fleet committee in its proposal said that it would not be a wise decision for Biman to operate domestic flights except on Chittagong and Sylhet routes.

‘We include Chittagong and Sylhet as there are huge number of expatriates from these two areas live in different countries around the world,’ Captain Shah Alam, a member of the fleet committee, told the news agency Tuesday. He said the fleet committee proposed to operate connecting services for Sylhet and Chittagong.

Replying to a question, Capt Shah Alam said, there are four private airliners operating their domestic flights and the domestic market is already saturated. ‘We don’t want to enter in that saturated and small market; we want to do our core business and that is operating international flights.’

In the proposal, the fleet committee mentioned that there is no need to procure small aircraft in future to operate domestic flights. ‘Rather, we are looking to make a new impression in the international market,’ the fleet committee member said. Chief adviser’s special assistant Mahbub Jamil on Monday at a press conference also said that they are not interested in domestic market. ‘We will open the domestic sector to the private airliners,’ he had said.

Biman currently owns three types of aircraft — four McDonnell Douglas DC10-30s, four Fokker F28s and three Airbus A310-300s.

Out of a total of 11 planes of Biman fleet, only four or five are operating now while the rest are grounded. Amid aircraft shortages, Biman cut seven international routes and was forced to reduce flight frequencies on five profitable international routes like Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait.

Biman’s market share came down to almost half of what it had in 1991. Capt Shah Alam said the national flag carrier would try to restore its flights on the profitable international routes.

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines on Sunday decided to purchase eight Boeing aircraft at a cost of US$ 1.265 billion to resuscitate the country’s lone public sector airlines. Biman will sign a MoU with Boeing representatives here on March 15.

Of the eight Boeings, the first consignment of four aircraft will be arriving here in 2013 while the second consignment in 2017. Currently, GMG Airlines, United Airways, Best Air and Royal Bengal are operating domestic flights along with Biman. The new private airlines are now operating domestic flights on routes connecting Dhaka with Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet and Jessore.

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