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Bangladesh - Corporate - March 2, 2024

Biman airline flying to new destinations

Passenger increasing

Rabiul Haque : In the last few years, passenger demand has increased in various countries of Asia and Europe-America. Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier, is operating new flights to these destinations one after another. In the last two years, flights have started operating to Toronto in Canada, Narita in Japan and Guangzhou in China. Next March, a direct flight will go to Rome, Italy.
Biman is preparing to resume flights on the Dhaka-New York route in December this year. The company plans to operate flights to six more US destinations in the future. In the meantime, it has also applied to get a ‘Foreign Air Carrier Permit’ from the US Department of Transportation.
Biman’s fleet now has a total of 21 aircraft including 16 Boeing Company aircraft. Besides, they also plan to buy 10 new aircraft including two cargo ones. The company believes that they will be able to launch new routes one by one.
Managing Director and CEO of Biman Shafiul Azim told, ‘Biman is flying to new destinations one after another considering passenger demand. Now the sale of tickets for Rome route in Italy has started. Direct flights will be operated from Dhaka to Rome. Transit in any country will not be necessary. In this way, in the future there are plans to operate flights to different countries of the world including New York.
Dhaka-Rome flight
Biman Bangladesh Airlines flights on Dhaka-Rome-Dhaka route will be launched on Independence Day on March 26. Earlier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Rome flight started on April 2, 1981 and stopped on April 6, 2015. After 10 years, Biman has made all kinds of preparations to transport passengers on this route again. Flights to Rome will be operated by Boeing-787 Dreamliner.
Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro paid a courtesy call on Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing Director and CEO Shafiul Azim on February 20. Meanwhile, Shafiul Azim expected the help of the ambassador for the inaugural Dhaka-Rome flight. The ambassador said that the Italian Embassy will provide all kinds of support to Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Biman’s director (marketing and sales) Mohammad Salahuddin told, “All preparations for the operation of the flight on March 26 have been completed. Now there is 10 to 15 percent discount on inaugural flight tickets. Ticket sales are getting good response from passengers. Hopefully Biman will be able to provide services according to the needs of passengers on this route.
He said, ‘Bangladeshi expatriates live more in Italy than in Europe. So Biman is going to start flights to Rome first. This flight will transport passengers directly from Hazrat Shahjalal Airport to Rome Airport.
Next route Dhaka-New York
Biman operated 79 flights on the Dhaka-New York route in the fiscal year 2005-06. Then the flight was stopped due to the passenger crisis. In 2013, CAAB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US to start flights. Later, the Bangladesh-US flight was restricted to the letter chain. Biman wants to start operating flights on this route again after 18 years.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport will have to get category-1 clearance from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in order for Biman to get permission to fly the Dhaka-New York route. For this clearance, all the criteria of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) must be met. Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB), the controlling body of Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, is now in Category-II.
CAAB officials say that CAABis making every effort to bring Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Category-1. All the criteria will be fulfilled when passenger transport starts at the third terminal of this airport. Then it will be possible to run five flights a week on the Dhaka-New York route with its own two Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The longest air route from Bangladesh is Dhaka-New York route. The distance of this route is about 12 thousand 672 km. There are currently no airline flights for this distance. Therefore, in the application, it is proposed to stop the journey from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to Izmir Airport in Turkey to take jet fuel. No passengers will board the aircraft during this time. After an hour’s break, will land at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport.
In the same application that has been submitted to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate flights on the Dhaka-New York route, Biman has expressed interest in operating flights to Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston, Houston, Dallas and New Jersey as part of future plans. The names of 10 airports have also been proposed for possible suspension of flights on these routes. They are Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Rome in Italy, Brussels in Belgium, Manchester in the United Kingdom, Birmingham, Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, New Delhi in India and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Aircraft will take jet fuel from these airports. No passengers will board there.
On December 11 last year, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) Md. US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter Haas had a meeting with Mofidur Rahman. The agenda of the meeting was airspace security and Dhaka-New York flight. In the meeting, CAAB chairman sought the cooperation of the US ambassador regarding the launch of flights on the Dhaka-New York route through Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Peter Haas assured cooperation in this regard. Besides, cooperation on various issues related to airspace security and initiatives to upgrade CAAB to Category-1 were discussed.
Earlier, Dhaka-Toronto-Dhaka direct commercial flight of Bangladesh Biman started on March 26, 2022 Independence Day. On September 1, 2023, Bangladesh Biman flew from Dhaka to Narita, Japan. Two weeks later, on September 14, the company started operating flights to China’s Guangzhou route. The national flag carrier airline is ready to fly to Rome, Italy soon this year after continuing to operate flights on new routes in the last two years.

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