EVEN though forty two years have passed since Biman Bangladesh Airlines started operations, it is still performing very poorly. Despite giving continuous assurance to its customers that it would improve its service it has repeatedly failed to do so. In fact, the service that is provided by the airline in terms of customer service and on-time performance has always been below par.
Over the years, the Biman management team kept citing shortage of aircraft and operating with age-old aircraft as the reasons for flight delays and flight cancellations. Now the airline has got rid of the gas-guzzling old aircraft and acquired brand new aircrafts, but they are mostly sitting idle at Dhaka Airport instead of being utilised.
Private airlines started operations in the country more than fifteen years ago but, to our great dismay, they are as incompetent as Biman -- if not worse -- in operating a commercial airline. Although about fifteen private airlines started operation in the country, most of them have ceased operating. Today, only four of them are are active the in domestic routes and only two of them are operating in international routes.
The commercial airline industry is a very fast-paced competitive global industry. Lack of experience and knowledge of the management team of the private airlines are the main reasons why most of them failed to stay afloat. They do not know how to stay competitive and how to take smart and fast decisions in this industry.
International air traffic has been experiencing a healthy growth rate of over 7.0% annually for quite some time. It is quite disappointing that Biman and the private airlines of the country are failing to tap into this growing market which has a huge potential to grow even more. Due to the poor performance of Biman and the private airlines, every year new foreign airlines are tapping into this market as a result of which the country is losing a huge amount of revenue.
To ensure that Biman and the private airlines are able to take advantage of the growing demand in the country's domestic and international air travel, and the people are not deprived of flying their 'own' airlines, they may consider enhancing their management team with people who have prior expertise and experience in operating a commercial airlines and may even consider leasing the airlines for some time to other foreign airlines that are performing well. This may help to boost their reeling performance and gain back customer confidence.
The writer is a Transportation Engineer working in Thailand.