Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the induction of the third Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner into the Biman fleet would enhance its capacity to operate flights to new destinations.
Referring to the newly-procured Dreamliners, she said the capacity of the national flag carrier in operating flights on long-haul routes has grown.
The PM said this at a programme at the capital’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport marking the commissioning of “Gangchil”, reports UNB.
Hasina said her government wants Biman to operate flights on Dhaka-New York route with the Dreamliners.
“Now we can’t operate flights to the USA, but we hope we will be able to solve the problem soon. Our Dreamliners have the capacity to fly directly to JFK Airport [in New York].”
The PM said her government was making efforts to further increase the frequencies of Biman flights on Dhaka-London route.
The national carrier was also trying to introduce flights on new routes to connect more countries with a view to improve passenger services, she added.
Meanwhile, a Biman official yesterday said Gangchil would primarily fly on Dhaka-Abu Dhabi route.
Speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, he said following the commissioning of the new aircraft, Biman will now operate seven flights to Abu Dhabi from Dhaka each week, up from six flights. Besides, “Gangchil” will operate on Dhaka-London route too.
Biman has also planned to operate flights on the new Dhaka-Madina route with the modern aircraft in a month or two, he added.
‘A SYMBOL OF INDEPENDENCE’
Describing Biman as a symbol of the country’s independence, Hasina yesterday said people across the globe can know about Bangladesh and respect the country through Biman as its aircraft fly to various countries.
She asked all involved with Biman to operate flights sincerely.
Talking about the newly-inducted Dreamliners Akash Beena, Hangsabalaka, and Gangchil, the PM said it is the responsibility of all to take good care of the new aircraft. “You will have to work keeping in mind that these [aircraft] are the assets of the country.”
Hasina said her government gives special attention to modernising Biman Bangladesh Airlines. She described various steps taken for Biman’s development.
She said Bangladesh used to borrow money from foreign sources for Biman, but the government has now decided to procure aircraft taking loan from local banks. “Thus we are making our efforts and moving forward step by step.”
Mentioning that the government would buy more aircraft to enhance Biman’s capacity, the PM said the government already decided to procure two cargo planes to boost export and import.
She elaborated her government’s initiatives for the development of the country’s airports. She said the previous Awami League government had made Chattogram and Sylhet airports international after assuming power in 1996.
She said the government is constructing a large international airport in Cox’s Bazar considering its location on international air routes and the district’s tourist attractions.
Hasina commissioned Gangchil by cutting a ribbon at the Dhaka airport around 11:30am. She also boarded and inspected the plane.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque, Chairman of the Biman Board of Directors Air Marshal (retd) Muhammad Enamul Bari, and Biman Managing Director and CEO Farhat Hassan Jamil, among others, spoke at the event.
Gangchil, the 15th aircraft of the national flag carrier, arrived on July 25 from the Boeing factory in the USA’s Seattle in the afternoon that day.
The 271-seat Boeing 787-8 is 20 percent fuel efficient carrier compared to the Boeing 767 it replaces. It is capable of flying 16 hours nonstop with an average speed of 650 miles per hour, reports BSS.
The aircraft provides its passengers with WiFi services up to 43,000 feet up in the air, allowing them to browse the internet or connect with their friends and families.
The prime minister named all the Dreamliners, sources said.
The first Dreamliner named Akash Beena had arrived in Dhaka in August last year and the second one called Hangsabalaka in December.
In 2008, the Biman had signed a $2.1 billion agreement with Boeing to buy 10 new aircraft. Of them, Boeing has already delivered four 777-300ERs, two 737-800s and three Dreamliners to Biman.
The fourth Dreamliner Rajhangsha will be added to the Biman’s fleet next month, the sources said.