GMG in trouble to operate int'l flights | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 13, 2008

GMG in trouble to operate int'l flights

Plane shortage forces carrier to suspend flights to four out of six destinations


A GMG aircraft waits at the Zia International Airport. GMG is in trouble to operate international flights due mainly to plane shortage.Photo: STAR

The country's oldest private carrier GMG Airlines, which earlier this year eyed an ambitious Tk 1350 crore turnover, is in deep trouble to operate international operations as it has already suspended flights to four out of six destinations due mainly to plane shortage.
Now flights to Kolkata and Kuala Lumpur remain operational. But according to sources, the carrier yesterday asked its sales agent in Kuala Lumpur to suspend its flights on Dhaka- Kuala Lumpur route from July 17 until further notice.
But the chairman of the airline said it will continue flights on Kuala Lumpur route from July 20 as it is expected that one out of its two MD-82 (McDonnellDouglas) aircraft would return to regular flight on or after July 20 following maintenance from Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We will continue operating on the Kuala Lumpur route with the Boeing 747-300 until July 17 and hope to resume flights on the route by July 20,” Abdus Sattar, chairman of about Tk 300 crore GMG Airlines, told over the phone.
The airline recently suspended its flights to Kathmandu and Delhi. Earlier, it suspended flights to the lucrative Dubai and Bangkok.
The GMG Airlines, which started operations in 1998, now has six aircraft in its fleet -- two MD-82s, three Dash-8s and one Being 747-300.
Out of these, only one Dash- 8 and leased Boeing 747-300 remain operational while the rest of the aircraft are grounded either due to routine maintenance or engine replacement.
The GMG chairman said it now wants to return the Boeing 747-300 to the lessor. The aircraft was leased from the Air Atlanta early this year, mainly to operate flights on the Dhaka-Dubai route.
But flying with the jumbo has become a burden for the carrier amid steady rise in the fuel costs and price war. The airline began flights on the Dhaka-Dubai route early February but suspended it by the end of May this year.
“We are unable to afford the rising costs of fuel. We had no way but to suspend Dubai flights to stop losses,” said Sattar adding, “When we took lease of the aircraft the price of fuel each litre was $0.56 cent. Now it is $1.25.”
Faced with working capital requirements, the carrier had earlier sought funds up to Tk 50 crore from a financial institution. Sattar claimed that the fund has already been sanctioned and hoped the company would get the money within this week.
The rising prices of fuel have already pushed the global air traffic down and created concerns in the aviation industry.
“We may resume flights on the Dubai route after the market becomes stable,” he said and hoped the flights to other destinations such as Delhi and Kathmandu could resume after the return of two aircraft- one MD-82 and one Dash 8 returns- to the regular fleet by the second week of August.
sohel@thedailystar.net

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