Int'l routes: Biman operated with 23% vacant seats in 6 months

Photo: Biman Bangladesh Airlines

Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated with 23 percent vacant seats on various internationals destinations in the last six months.

A total of 3.41 lakh Biman seats remained empty at the time, accounting for 23 percent of total seats.

According to aviation experts, the amount of empty seats is a reason for concern.

Previously, the parliamentary standing committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism sought the reasons for the country's flag carrier's non-sale of tickets on international routes in the last six months, as well as information on ticket sales.

Based on this, Biman submitted the report at the parliamentary committee meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad on Tuesday.

The report was produced using data from the past six months' seat vacancy in 68 destinations.

According to reports, 14,77,456 tickets were available in various overseas destinations in the six months from June to November. Among them, 11,35,974 seats were booked. The remaining 3,41,482 were empty, representing a 23 percent of vacant seats.

The picture of empty seats on all routes, however, is not the same. On several routes, there were just a few seats available. On several routes, more than half of the seats were vacant.

In the last six months, Biman flights from Dhaka to China's Guangzhou route had 2,675 vacant seats. There were 1,037 passengers on board. The remaining 1,638 seats were empty, indicating that 61 percent of the seats at this location were empty.

Biman did not mention any specific reason for this.

There were 17,665 seats on Muscat to Dhaka route. Of these, 9,285 seats or 53 percent remained vacant. Forty-five percent of the total seats on the Abu Dhabi-Dhaka route were empty.

On the other hand, flights from Dhaka to Muscat, Chattogram to Muscat, Dhaka to Riyadh, Chattogram to Jeddah were quite full. In these flights, 80 to 90 percent seats were occupied.

Biman suspended its ticket sales services through its website from August 9 last year to February 26 of this year due to changes in its Passenger Service System (PSS).

According to Shafiul Azim, the newly appointed Biman MD and CEO, in many circumstances certain seats must be left unoccupied owing to load balancing for technical reasons.

State Minister for Civil Aviation M Mahbub Ali, has previously said anyone found to be involved in ticket manipulation will face legal consequences.

According to aviation expert Kazi Wahidul Alam, airlines operating flights from Dhaka currently have an average of 10 to 15 percent unfilled seats as "standard" (acceptable).

The routes that Biman operates on are the most demanding. As a result, the plane seats are less likely to be empty. However, under this condition, 23 percent of seats remaining empty is a matter of concern, he said.

Usually the responsible officials of the airlines have to be accountable for the routes where the seats are empty, he added.


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