Destiny takes over Best Air | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 14, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 14, 2010

Destiny takes over Best Air


Destiny Group has bought off 80 percent stakes in the troubled Best Air for Tk 150 crore, said a top official of the local airline yesterday.
Best Aviation Ltd, the owning company of Best Air, and Destiny, a multilevel marketing company, signed a share-transfer deal on November 11, according to M Haider Uzzaman, who now acts as the managing director for the airline.
The deal was announced at the re-launch of the carrier last night.
“We were looking for partners to recover from the financial crunch that forced us to be grounded for months,” said Haider Uzzaman who had presided over Best Aviation as chairman before the takeover.
Mohammad Rafiqul Amin, chairman of Destiny Group, said his company wants to help Best Air come out of the crisis it has been facing for the last 21 months.
"Best Air has a ready infrastructure and permission to fly on 17 routes, and this has made us interested," said Amin, also the new chairman of Best Aviation.
"Now, we have plans to purchase three aircraft, including ATR-500 with the capacity of 72 seats, and Airbus-320 with 150 seats," he said, adding: "We hope these new initiatives will help the airline begin a new journey and regain its reputation."
The company started passenger service in January 2008 under brand Best Air.
But within 14 months of its operation, the airline was grounded amid financial crisis resulting from a surge in oil prices on the global market.
Haider Uzzaman said: "The fuel price soared so high that we were unable to bear the losses coming from the increased fuel bills."
"And eventually we were forced to suspend flights to avoid further losses," he said, claiming that the airline incurred a loss of Tk 72 crore at the time it was grounded in March 2009.
Since then Haider Uzzaman had been looking for partners to inject fresh funds to salvage the airline that spread wings to catch a portion of Bangladesh's air travel market of nearly 40 lakh passengers a year.
"We negotiated with many potential investors. Finally we formed ties with Destiny," he said.
The airliner had earlier formed a partnership with Kuwait-based Aqeeq Aviation Holding in March 2007. But Haider Uzzaman claimed that Aqeeq did not invest in the airline in line with the contract.
He said Destiny would pay Tk 56 crore initially. "The rest will be paid within the next three months."
The partnership will help Best Air use the huge marketing and distribution network of Destiny and resume flights soon.
"We are trying to give a new look to the airline by bringing in new aircraft and hiring skilled hands from home and abroad," said Haider Uzzaman, adding that the airline wants to resume domestic flights from March 26.
He said the airline is now in the process of getting a clearance from Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh to resume flights.
"We want to resume our passenger services on Dhaka-Chittagong route from the Independence Day. We also plan to operate two flights a day on Dhaka-Cox's Bazar route from the same day."
It will resume flights to Sylhet, Barisal, Jessore and Syedpur on March 26, Haider Uzzaman said.
The airline plans to open flights to regional destinations such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Dubai, Singapore and Male from September next year.
sayeda@thedailystar.net

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