Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the officials and employees of Biman Bangladesh Airlines to improve its quality of services and thus make the airlines profitable, saying no organisation can survive with continued losses.
"Biman is not only a service-providing organisation but also a commercial entity. Once, Biman went to a stage of closure. The situation has been changed. You know better what will happen to your fate if Biman is closed," she said.
The premier was addressing the induction ceremony of recently purchased 4th brand new Boeing 777-300 ER (extended range) named ‘Raanga Pravat’ and a leased 777-200ER from Egypt Air to Biman fleet at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
The government signed a deal with US plane maker Boeing in 2008 to procure 10 brand new aircraft – four B 777s, two B 737s and four dream liner B 787s by 2020. With Raanga Pravat, all the four 777s have joined the fleet of the national flag carrier.
Hasina also said Boeing will hand over the two 737-800 aircraft by November and December 2015 and pre-delivery payments for those two aircraft have already been made.
“All problems arise when the question of providing fund arises. I’m trying to solve the problems,” she said adding it also requires sovereign guarantee.
“We have no problem to give sovereign guarantee since the foreign currency reserve now stands at $19 billion and the economy is on a strong footing,” she said.
About the possible handing over of four more 787-8 aircraft from Boeing by 2019 and 2020, the premier said a request has already been made to Boeing to make those deliveries by 2015-16. Boeing has sent some proposals which Biman management is scrutinising.
Mentioning her government’s supports to procure aircraft and development of airports and facilities, the premier said the overall development of Biman is not possible only through infrastructure uplift or induction of new aircraft.
"Able stewardship, skill development and sincerity of those who are working here are needed first," she said.
The premier also asked to improve the security at the airports, if necessary by creating a special force like police, and imparting its member proper training. She also asked for gearing up the activities of the intelligence agencies so that the airports do not earn bad reputation.
About the seizure of the gold bars at the airports, Hasina said the recovery does not mean that smuggling has increased rather those are being seized as security has been beefed up at airports.
Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Secretary of the Ministry Khurshid Alam Chowdhury, Biman Board of Directors’ Chairman Air-Marshal (retd) Jamal Uddin Ahmed, US Charge d' Affaires to Bangladesh Jon Danilowicz and Biman Managing Director Kevin John Steele also spoke on the occasion.