Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed Biman Bangladesh Airlines to maintain flight schedules and provide better services to attract passengers, especially the nine million expatriate Bangladeshis who love to fly with the national flag carrier.
The Biman authorities must maintain timetables as people want to fly in time, Hasina said at the launch of Biman's new Boeing 777-300ER—Akash Prodip—at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital.
The premier's call exposes the carrier's failure to maintain schedules of domestic and overseas flights, which causes a lot of sufferings to the passengers.
Biman has two other Boeing 777-300ERs, two Boeing 737-800s and two Airbus 310-300s (one grounded).
Hasina bade farewell to the world's last wide-bodied passenger carrier DC-10, and said: “This is a historic moment.” Biman will send the fuel-guzzling DC-10 into retirement on February 20.
Hasina hoped that Biman would turn into a profit-making organisation in the near future and would brighten its image at home and abroad. She asked the Biman authorities to provide better e-ticketing services.
Hasina said a tunnel with modern facilities would be built from the Airport Railway Station to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, so passengers from all parts of the country could easily enter the airport by railway.
The civil aviation and tourism ministry and the railways ministry will jointly implement the project, she said, adding that the services of Bangladesh Railway will also be enhanced.
Cox's Bazar Airport will be upgraded to international standards to attract more tourists, she said.
The airports in Syedpur and Rajshahi have already been made operational, and the government is working to reopen the rest of the closed ones, she said.
The government will boost Biman's capacity by procuring more aircraft and curbing waste, inefficiency and corruption so that it could face the tough global competition, Hasina said.
Two new planes will be bought for Biman's domestic flights, enabling the national flag carrier to compete with the private airlines, she said. Biman flights on Dhaka-New York route will be launched soon and two direct flights on Sylhet-London route will be introduced in a week.