Int'l airports warn Biman of boycott
Different international airports including Heathrow Airport strongly criticised Bangladesh Biman for its repeated failures to maintain flight schedules and warned of not granting slots if it failed to be punctual.
Expressing dissatisfaction over Biman's performance in keeping flight schedule, Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest international airport, in England asked Biman to use Stansted and Gatwick airports, which are comparatively less busy if Biman wishes to continue to serve London.
A number of airport authorities also warned Biman that they would impose fines for its continuous failure to keep slots (prescribed timing for arriving and departure of flights), sources said.
Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Rome and a number of other international airports also accused Biman of not keeping its flight schedule and warned Biman that they would not grant slots to Biman if its flight did not become more punctual.
"Data in the attached spreadsheet shows that punctuality of BG (two-letter code for Biman Bangladesh Airlines) flight during summer 2007 has been on average over three hours late, which is more than 3 time worse than any other carrier at Heathrow," slot co-ordination committee of British Airways Authority (BAA) wrote to Biman in an email.
"Based on the above, BG has no historic slots at Heathrow and, given the high demand for slots, should not expect any slot to be available in the pool for summer 2008," the email read.
This is due to the failure to use the slots at least 80 percent of the time as required by the EU slot regulation 739/2009 and the IATA worldwide scheduling guidelines.
Slot Coordination Committee in its recent letter said, "Slots may be available at another London airport such as London Stansted if Biman wishes to serve London."
Dubai International Airport in a recent letter to Biman said its failure to maintain flight schedule hampered arrivals and departures of other airliners. Dubai International Airport asked Biman to regularise its slot otherwise it would impose fine or cancel the slot for Biman.
A Biman high official told The Daily Star that whether domestic or local, Biman cannot fly to its destination on time and four-five hours' flight delay has become a normal event.
"About 20-25 aircraft land at Heathrow every hour, if we (Biman) cannot maintain slot in a busy airport like Heathrow, Dubai, it creates problems to landing and departure of other airliner," admitted the Biman official seeking anonymity.
"They [busy airport like Heathrow, Dubai] have to hold aircraft both in the sky and on the ground for our delay," the official said.
"They could manage it if the delay was once or twice, the fact is we cannot keep any of the flight schedules and that is why those international airports warned us," the Biman official said.
"Delays hamper immigration and checking departments of the concerned airport, the Biman official added.
He said Biman needs more aircraft otherwise the situation will not improve.
On July 7, around 200 Biman passengers faced untold sufferings stranded at the Zia International Airport (ZIA) as the flight scheduled to carry them was delayed 39 hours due to technical glitches and lack of planes. On July 9, another Biman flight, this time to London, was delayed for about a day at ZIA due to technical glitches. In July and August the situation worsened so much that flights were delayed 20-39 hours and flights had to be cancelled.