November 27, 2020, 2:05 pm


2020-10-05 11:28:39 BdST

Biman incurs Tk 11b loss over two leased Boeings

Two Boeing 777-200 aircraft leased from Egypt five years ago has plunged Biman Bangladesh Airlines into a tailspin of losses worth a whopping Tk 11 billion.

This piece of information was drawn from a meeting document of the parliamentary committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism on Sunday.

The meeting held last month heard that the revenue made from the two aircraft totalled Tk 22 billion against expenditures running up to Tk 33 billion.

For these planes, the flag carrier had been giving subsidies of Tk 110 million per month before completing the payment in March.

In the meeting, Md Mohibul Haque, senior secretary to the ministry, said Biman was keen to put a halt on leasing jets and that three new aircraft - Dash-8 - were expected to arrive this year.

Among them, two would be added to Biman’s fleet this year and the other would join the fleet next year. Each of these aircraft cost $24 million, Mohibul added.

Sayeda Rubina Akter, a member of the standing committee on the aviation ministry, said the process of leasing aircraft was unclear to her and she felt that it needed to be discussed in the committee.

The committee had previously expressed its reservations about leasing the two aircraft, which the Biman leased from Egypt Air on a five-year term.

One of the planes was put in Biman operations in March 2014 while the other was incorporated to the fleet two months later.

Within a year of flying, the engine of one of the Boeing 777-200s went out of order, necessitating the leasing of another engine from Egypt Air in 2015 to keep the flight operational.

Things went further downhill when the engine of the other aircraft died a year and a half later, forcing Biman to lease yet another engine to keep the plane flying.

Compounding the woes, this engine, too, broke down in December and was sent to another company in the United States for repairs.

But the company did not provide a deadline to return a repaired engine and Biman ended up paying both the company they leased the engine from and the firm doing the repairs.

The meeting was told that Biman earned revenues worth Tk 1.85 billion in July and around Tk 1.69 billion the month before.

It did not retrench any employee during the COVID-19 crisis, though pay cuts were implemented to some extent.

The meeting also shed light on the state-run carrier borrowing Tk 10 billion from the government to ride out the pandemic, and Tk 3.0 billion had been spent.

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