Biman hangar accidents: Stern actions will prevent repeat
Two similar accidents in front of the hangar of Biman Bangladesh Airlines at the Dhaka airport have raised questions about the national flag carrier's efficiency and the sincerity of its staff in carrying out their roles.
The two bizarre accidents, which left Biman with four damaged aircraft, happened while towing the planes to the airline's 1.5 lakh square feet hangar at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from the boarding bridge using a tow truck.
"Taking the aircraft to the hangar from the boarding bridge is not the work of rocket science -- it's pretty simple," said ATM Nazrul Islam, an aviation expert who worked with a host of private airlines.
The rules or protocols regarding moving the aircraft to the hangar are not properly followed by the people in charge of the ground handling service.
"They lack sincerity in doing their jobs," he added.
According to airport officials, one of the accidents happened because a ground support staff of Biman asked a cleaner to give instructions to the tow truck driver.
Due to lack of know-how, the cleaner, who was among the six to seven others involved in the incident, gave wrong instructions, the officials said on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly on the matter.
In another incident, a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft on June 16, collided with the boarding bridge at HSIA. On June 4, a trolley-dolly of a private airline hit a Boeing 737 aircraft of Biman at the Dhaka airport.
"Do Biman's respective ground handling staff follow the standard operating procedure while operating its aircraft like in other international airports? Are they efficient enough? The accidents gave birth to so many questions," said Kazi Wahidul Alam, editor of weekly Monitor, an aviation and travel-related publication.
Due to the negligence of Biman's ground staff, two aircraft of Turkish Airlines were damaged at the HSIA in recent years.
"If Biman fails to ensure the safety of its own aircraft, how safe are the aircraft of other airlines at the hands of Biman is a big question as it provides ground handling support to foreign airlines at the Dhaka airport," said a Turkish airlines official wishing anonymity.
Biman provides hanger support to Qatar Airways and Malaysian Airlines, according to MM Ekramuzzaman, director of Biman's engineering and material management department.
Such accidents are very rare in other airports, said an official of Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia.
Moving aircraft at the airport is not the same as moving a toy, said an official of Singapore Airlines.
"Dhaka Airport is not a small airport. How much feckless can one be that such bizarre accidents take place? You need sincerity, perseverance and patience to do this job," he added.
Such incidents show the level of impudence among a section of Biman staff, said MA Momen, a former managing director and chief executive officer of the national flag carrier.
The accidents might be the result of not taking stern actions against the responsible persons due to the strong influence of the Collective Bargaining Agency and union leaders.
"Were stern actions taken, there would not have been a repeat of the accidents," Momen added.
No one lost their jobs for the incidents; they got away with just suspensions.