Biman readies for a smooth pilgrimage

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Desk Report:

If last year’s bitter experience of flight delays and cancellations is something to learn form, Biman Bangladesh Airlines learnt it hard way during the Hajj season in 2017.

Taking lessons from the flight hiccups, the national flag carrier does not want to take any risk this year. Biman has decided to induct four aircraft in its fleet to carry the pilgrims during 2018 Hajj season.

Biman has invited proposal/offer for taking four aircraft on wet lease (ACMI – Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance included) for the period from July 11 to September 24, 2018.

“The disruption that occurred last time we don’t want that type of disruption this time,” Biman Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) AM Mosaddique Ahmed said.

He said that after calculating everything the airliner found that it needs at least four aircrafts this year to maintain a smooth operation. “We want to maintain undisrupted flights during the hajj period,” he added.

AM Mosaddique Ahmed further said that well ahead of the next Hajj season, two of Biman’s aircraft, taken on lease from Egypt Air, would no longer be in its fleet. One of the Egypt Air’s aircraft will be grounded in January and the other one will leave in March.

But with four new craft on temporary wet lease, Biman authorities hope, it will fare well the next Hajj season and will not require canceling, rescheduling or redirecting any of its regular commercial flights for carrying the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines lost Tk. 40 crore in revenues as it cancelled a good number of hajj flights in 2017 partly due to hajj agencies’ mismanagement and partly for many pilgrims’ failure to obtain visa from Saudi Arabian Embassy on time.

According to Biman’s Request for Proposal (RFP), the four aircrafts will be inducted in its fleet on ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance), also known as Wet Lease. Each of the aircraft configured with 300 (+10 per cent) seats in two-class, must fly minimum 700 Block Hours (BH) during the lease term.

Aircraft should be capable of flying direct between Dhaka and Jeddah without any load penalty taking into consideration of passenger weight and baggage of 120 kg.

The RFP mentioned that major checks/maintenance of the offered aircraft must not fall due during the lease period. The lessor will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the aircraft under ACMI lease conditions.

Dhaka will be the base of operation and these aircraft will be operated in Biman’s network (South East Asia and Gulf & Middle East and London).

In case of Aircraft on Ground (AOG)/Technically Grounded situation, the lessor shall undertake all necessary measures to make the aircraft operational at the earliest. If the grounding of the aircraft continues for 48 hours or more, the lessor will be responsible to provide a substitute aircraft of similar seat configuration at lessor’s cost until the leased aircraft is brought back to operation. In case the lessor fails to provide substitute aircraft within 48 hours, then Biman reserves the right to ask for compensation to be determined by it.

Established in February 1972, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is operating flights to seven domestic and 15 international destinations. Out of the international destinations, Biman operates to two destinations in the SAARC countries, four in the South East Asia, eight in the Gulf and Middle-East and one in Europe.

At present, Biman has 13 aircraft in its fleet including four 777-300ER, two 777-200ER, one A330-200, four 737-800 and two Dash8-Q400 aircraft.unb

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