Seeking help of BSEC to restart operation
Staff Correspondent: With the loan and penalty liabilities of over Tk 800 crore, the United Airways is trying to restart its operation with the support of BSEC.
With the huge loan burden of Tk 432 crore and Tk 350 crore penalty of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), the private airline is sinking in the deep sea.
The last chance of United Airways, which has been closed for 7 years due to various complications, is now the seeking salvation doze from Bangladesh Security Exchange Commission (BSEC). It depends on their decision whether the private airline company will be reopened or shut down altogether. It is said that the airways still want to fly after various setbacks. Kazi Wahidul Alam, chairman of the board of directors of United Airways, said this in a conversation with a media on Saturday (August 19) afternoon.
It was asked whether the final nail has been hammered for the airways to fly. We have tried our best. We also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister informing about the matter. He was also diligent about us and informed the concerned departments to take action.
When asked if the rumors that the airways are going to be closed – is it true or is there something else behind it – he added, ‘We are not sitting around anymore. In the last two years, we have been in repeated contact with the Ministry of Finance, from Civil Aviation to the Security Exchange Commission and the Prime Minister’s Office. Finally, everything is fine but the finance ministry has rejected our application. Due to which it may not be possible for us to go to the operation.
When asked why it is not possible to go into operation, if United Airways is really closing down, Wahidul Alam said, “As the situation is now, it is not possible for us to pay the dues right now.” About Tk 3.5 billion will be due to us including civil aviation surcharge. How do we pay it now? The matter has been reported to Civil Aviation. Then they were told that we can pay the dues if we go to the operation. But at the moment, when any investment company sees Tk 3.5 billion due in the balance sheet, they will not come or are not coming. We have been looking for investment companies for the past 2 years. But I haven’t found anyone yet.’
Adding various topics, he further said, ‘Now it takes 40-50 crores to make a new company. So why would any company invest here by spending $3.5 billion. But we tried. Still if this company can be launched then the market can be captured and profit can be made. But we may not be able to move forward due to various obstacles. All in all, we now have to look at the BSEC. If they give us a chance then maybe we can launch or we can’t launch anymore.’
When asked if he got AOC from Civil Aviation, Wahidul Alam said, “We couldn’t even try.” An Air Operating Certificate is required to operate an aircraft. Just as a trade license is required to start a business, an AOC must be taken from a bank to run an airline business. And CAAB didn’t give us because they get money owed to us.’
Meanwhile, due to irregularities in the management, the operations of the airlines have been closed for almost 7 years. 8 planes of this airline have been lying at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for a long time. And for the parking and other charges of these planes, the civil aviation authority will get more than Tk 350 crore from the airlines.
Not only that, United Airlines, which was closed in 2016, had 10 aircraft at that time. Among them, one aircraft is in India and another in Pakistan and the remaining 8 are at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. Most of the parts and structures are liable to get damaged due to dust, sand, storm, rain.
On the other hand, United Airlines started business in the country in 2007. In February 2016, United Airways suspended its flights without any announcement. After receiving approval in 2005, the organization started its operations on July 10 of the following year.
Meanwhile, the board of directors of United Airways has recently written to the BSEC. That said, due to huge amounts of money owed to various domestic and foreign institutions, we are constantly being challenged to pay their dues and some institutions have taken legal action, which we have to deal with.
Meanwhile, valuable parts of airlines stored at Hazrat Shahjalal Airport are constantly being stolen or lost and aircrafts are being damaged due to negligence. If proper measures are not taken in this regard, they will soon become scraps. Then there will be nothing left for anyone to do. In this situation we think that if the concerned authorities do not have any intention to revive the airline. In that case, it would be advisable to immediately relieve ourselves from the responsibility assigned to us without wasting any more time. We can take appropriate action if we get a well thought out opinion in this regard.
In this regard, BSEC Executive Director and Spokesperson Rezaul Karim told, “United Airways has a huge amount of debt. They have to pay this amount. In this situation, we will not be able to provide any financial support. We are trying to see if all the institutions which are closed under the security exchange can be started or not.
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