Raanga Pravat, the new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft inducted into Biman's fleet, sits at Shahjalal International Airport yesterday. Photo: BSS
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged employees of Biman Bangladesh Airlines to improve services and strive for profitability, as no organisation can sustain continuous losses.
"Biman is a commercial entity, not a service organisation only," Hasina said at the induction ceremony of the recently purchased new Boeing 777-300 extended range, named Raanga Pravat, and the 777-200ER leased from Egypt Air at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Raanga Pravat is the fourth B777 to join the national carrier's fleet as part of the government's 2008 deal for 10 new aircraft with Boeing. The US-based plane maker is to deliver two B737s and four Dreamliner B787s by 2020.
Boeing will hand over the two 737-800 aircraft by November and December 2015 and pre-delivery payments for those two aircraft have already been made, Hasina said.
“Problems arise with fund raising—I'm trying to solve those,” Hasina said, adding it requires sovereign guaranty.
“We have no problem giving sovereign guaranty since the foreign currency reserve now stands at $19 billion and the economy is on a strong footing.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina takes a look inside the new aircraft. . Photo: BSS
On the possible handover of four more 787-8 aircraft from Boeing by 2019 and 2020, Hasina said a request has already been made to Boeing to make those deliveries by 2015-16. Boeing has sent some proposals which the Biman management is scrutinising.
Only infrastructure upgrade or induction of new aircraft is not enough for the overall development of Biman, Hasina said. "Able stewardship, skills development and sincerity of workers are needed first.”
Hasina asked for fast and smooth services to arriving passengers, to make their travel easier.
She emphasised efforts to improve security at airports, even by creating and training a special force, if necessary, and accelerating intelligence agency activities.
About the seizure of gold bars at the airports, the prime minister said increased seizures do not necessarily indicate higher smuggling, rather, better security leading to more seizures.
Hasina suggested the Biman management get cargo aircraft to cut cost and boost profitability, as Biman often charters foreign airlines for cargo carriage.
A tunnel with modern facilities will be constructed between the airport railway station and Shahjalal airport to ensure smooth entry and exit of passengers in and out of the airport, Hasina said.