At least 10 people, not needed for the job, are going to Seattle to bring two new Boeing 787-9s to Dhaka spending taxpayers’ money.
Thirteen engineers, eight pilots, 12 cabin crew members, two experts from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) are all the people required to bring the planes home, according to Biman and civil aviation ministry sources.
Talking to The Daily Star, a number of Biman officials were critical of such people going to the US to collect the Biman planes.
“Are they going on a picnic or a pleasure trip spending public money?” one of them said.
They said two officials from the finance ministry, one official each from the law and energy ministries, the chairman of the Biman Board of Directors, the CAAB chairman, personal secretary to the state minister for civil aviation, and public relations officers of the civil aviation ministry and Biman have been unnecessarily included in the delegation.
Aviation expert Kazi Wahidul Alam said Biman should avoid such misuse of public money.
Recently, the Biman Board of Directors decided to go for cost-cutting measures but the board members themselves are now making a costly unnecessary visit to the US, said a Biman official.
Chairman of the Biman Board of Directors Air Marshal (retd) Muhammad Enamul Bari told this newspaper that the delegation members would have a free flight home as they would return in the new planes.
Asked why the other 10 officials were going, he said officials of the finance, law, and power ministries were involved in the purchase process of the planes.
Biman Managing Director and CEO Mokabbir Hossain claimed that no irrelevant people had been included in the delegation.
Talking to The Daily Star, Mohibul Haq, secretary to the civil aviation ministry, said the number of delegation members who went to get the four 787-8s earlier were higher than the number going now.
The delegation members would start leaving Dhaka from tomorrow and the last one would leave on December 17. The first 787-9 is scheduled to land in Dhaka on December 21 and second one on December 24.
On November 17, Biman and the US aircraft manufacturer announced at the Dubai Airshow that Biman bought two 787-9 Dreamliners.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was at the airshow, named the planes “Sonar Tori” and “Achin Pakhi.”
Mohibul claimed that the price of a 298-seater Boeing 787-9 was around $300 million but Biman got two planes for around $284 million, which is less than half price.
Biman got the aircraft at such a low price because China Hainan Airlines, which had ordered those, failed to take delivery due to financial issues and a trade war between China and US, said sources in Biman.
With the inclusion of the 787-9s, Biman would have 18 aircraft in its fleet. The 787-9s would be able to carry 27 more passengers than the 787-8s Biman already has.