Narinjara news



Future of Biman flights on the Dhaka - Chittagong - Rangoon - Bangkok Route Uncertain


by Shwe Lin Yun


2(?)  April  2002

The national airlines of Bangladesh, Biman, faces the threat of a loss of Taka 50 million on its three-month long trial flight on the Dhaka - Chittagong - Rangoon - Bangkok route.


The weekly loss by operating the flight via Chittagong stands at more than Taka 350,000. This new international route was commissioned to make the Chittagong airport profitable. But considerations are being made to shut down the route due to its loss-incurring situation.


According to a source in the airport, the Biman took the initiative to introduce a new flight route or a via route to make the M A Hannan Chittagong Airport operationally viable. As a part of the plan, the flight route of the Dhaka - Rangoon - Bangkok service was rescheduled with a stoppage and transit point at the Chittagong airport on 3rd March 02. Since then the Biman started running an Airbus (flight BG 060) every Sunday on that path. The flight was experimentally inaugurated for three months with a hope to at least to recover the expenses and handling charge involved in the service.


Prior to this, the Biman operated a Chittagong - Rangoon flight which was later cancelled for being unprofitable and lack of passengers. But without further examining whether the service will be profitable or will have enough passengers the Biman started its operations of the route on the 3rd of March. The Biman pays a total of Taka 224,000 as landing and handling charges to the Civil Aviation Authority. Besides that the cost of operating its own aircraft involved is taka 150,000, but the Biman cannot get enough passengers in its Chittagong - Rangoon -Bangkok route as anticipated.


The statistics shows that, the Biman operated three flights in the last month while the latest flight on the 24th April 02 had to be cancelled for lack of passengers. The number of passengers boarding from Chittagong in the last three flights was alarming. There were only six passengers on the inaugural flight to Rangoon - Bangkok, and only 31 passengers on the second flight, while only 13 passengers boarded the plane from Chittagong on the third flight.  Thai and Burmese businessmen can also board the plane from Chittagong.


There are more than one reasons behind the failure to attract more passengers in the flight from Chittagong one is the lethargy of the Immigration department officials at the airport, and the other is the lack of the facilities for getting visa for Burma and Thailand from Chittagong. People who want to board the plane from Chittagong cannot use the route because of the unavailability of visa facilities at Chittagong.


In his speech at the inaugural ceremony the Deputy Minister for Civil Aviation Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin in an answer to the reporters told that, the Biman airlines is inaugurating the route on a trial run for three months. The minimum requirement for feasibility of the flight route is a minimum number of fifty passengers on each flight. But the Biman has not been able to perform up to expectations and the loss in these three months would be more than five million taka. The source said that the Biman alone has to suffer the entire loss without any other assistance from outside. #


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