Regent Airways will undergo a facelift in the next two years by expanding its fleet and enhancing its human resources, said a senior official of the airline.
“We want to become the best airline operating from Bangladesh,” said Sam Issac, the airline's chief adviser, adding that it would be rebranded as the 'preferred international carrier with a local flavour'.
“Passengers will see a lot of changes in service quality in the coming days,” he told The Daily Star in an interview. For that end, Regent, which began international operations in July last year, will invest in technology, passenger services, aircraft maintenance, repairs and overhaul.
Five new planes with advanced in-flight entertainment and communication system will be added to the fleet and 13 new international routes launched during the period.
Issac, who joined Regent in June, said the expansion will create at least 1,000 new positions on top of the existing 700.
Around $100 million would be needed to fund the expansion, adding that the airline is in talks with prospective investors.
Prior to joining with Regent, Issac was holding the position of chief financial officer at the Indian carrier Spicejet. His curriculum vitae also include names like Emirates, Etihad Airways and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
He says the country has immense potential in the aviation business due to its high population density and strategic geographical location.
“Due to a rise in income level, many people in the country are now travelling by air. Air travel is no longer only for the rich -- middle-income people can also afford it now.”
The Indian national said the domestic aviation industry is facing severe challenges due to high costs and entry of new players. But Regent is not worried about the new entrants as “it is a big industry”.
Currently, Regent is offering an attractive 25 percent discount on tickets for all its destinations.
To use the offer, passengers will have to buy tickets by October 10. Upon each buy, every passenger will get a 25 percent discount on the next flight he or she avails.
The airline began commercial operations in November 2010 with two Bombardier Dash-8-Q300 aircraft. Now, its fleet consists of two Boeing 737-700 and three Dash-8 and 6. It has so far carried upwards of 7.85 lakh passengers on the domestic and international routes.
Regent is a subsidiary of Chittagong-based Habib Group, which has business in textiles, cement, steel, power, real estate, insurance and banking.
The number of passengers will hit 10.2 million and the volume of air cargo 3.6 lakh tonnes in 2020, up 76 percent and 56.5 percent respectively from the current levels, according to a projection by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
The current annual market size is worth around $440 million, which includes 5.8 million passengers and 2.3 lakh tonnes of cargoes, industry insiders said.