Staff Correspondent: State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali has said that at present Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Biman) has 21 aircrafts for passenger transport. Of these, 18 are own aircraft and the other three are leased. He was responding to a question from Natore-2 MP Shafiqul Islam Shimul in Parliament yesterday.
The state minister said the present government has taken various steps to increase the number of airlines, including making Biman profitable and launching new routes. In order to start the internal route, flights have been started on Sylhet-Chittagong-Sylhet from March 17, 2021, Dhaka-Saidpur from October 8, 2021, Sylhet-Cox’s Bazar and Cox’s Bazar-Saidpur from November 12, 2020.
Considering the passenger demand, there is a plan to increase the weekly frequency to all the existing domestic destinations and to operate some non-conventional routes such as Jessore-Chittagong-Jessore route, said the state minister for Aviation.
Incidentally, after a long delay in procuring small aircraft under the direction of the Prime Minister, Biman started operating flights to all domestic destinations in the country.
The state minister said that with the aim of resuming flights to various international destinations and operating flights to new destinations, Delhi on 19 May 2019, Medina on 26 October 2019, Manchester on 5 January 2020, Hong Kong on 8 July 2020, Guangzhou on 18 August 2020 and Sharjah on 25 January 2022. Weekly frequency has been increased at various destinations including flight operations / resumption.
He said that on March 26, 2022, a test flight was conducted in Toronto, Canada for the purpose of operating the aircraft. Non-stop commercial flights between Dhaka and Toronto will continue from June 11. Biman flights have been operating on the Sylhet-London-Sylhet route since October 4, 2020.
The minister said there were plans to resume flights to Narita and Bahrain and to expand flights to Chennai, Male and Colombo as new destinations. Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport has plans to operate flights to New York in the near future, subject to upgrading to Category-1. However, the existing routes are being evaluated, profitable routes are being identified and flights to new destinations are being operated.
He said a total of 15 new aircrafts have been procured for the fleet from 2011-2021 under various purchase agreements. From 2011 to 2019, a total of 12 new aircraft were procured, including four 6-300 ERs, two 737-800s, four 7-8 Dreamliners and two 8-9 Dreamliners. After that, Bangladesh Biman entered a new era by gradually canceling the existing old aircraft in the fleet and modernizing the fleet.
State Minister Mahbub Ali said the GTZ agreement was signed on August 1, 2016 between Biman and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) to buy three Dash 8-400 aircraft to operate on domestic and regional routes. The first aircraft purchased under this was added to the fleet on November 20, 2020, the second on February 19, 2021 and the third on February 25, 2021.
A leased Dash 8-400 aircraft was added to the fleet in June 2020 and two more 737-800 aircraft in December 2021. In addition, feasibility studies are underway to add a new generation of passenger and cargo aircraft to the fleet to enhance passenger transport capacity and quality of service.
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