The Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to add three Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft to its fleet to operate flights on both domestic and international routes, according to sources.
To this end, the national flag carrier will place a government-to-government purchase proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday.
The aircraft, from the Dash 8-Q400 series manufactured by Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier Inc, are twin-engine, medium-range turbo-prop aeroplanes, each with 70-89 seats.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism moved Biman's proposal seeking a waiver to the mandatory provision of tendering process under the Public Procurement Act, as it prefers to procure the aircraft through negotiation without any tender, reports UNB.
Biman already has two Dash 8-Q400 aircraft in its fleet on rental basis, at a monthly cost of $168,000.
The airliner took lease of these aircraft for five years from Egypt’s Smart Aviation Company in 2015.
Purchase of the two aircraft will cut down Biman's monthly cost to a great extent, the proposal says.
It also reasons that procuring the aircraft is necessary as a total of seven aircraft will be withdrawn from Biman's fleet by 2022 as their lease agreement will expire by then.
Biman General Manager Shakil Meraj said the national flag carrier would have to add more aircraft to continue domestic and regional routes after the expiry of the agreement.
“To continue smooth operation, the management of the airlines has decided to purchase three more aircraft,” he said.
He further added that if one of the existing Dash 8 aircraft has to be grounded, Biman has to cancel around half of the scheduled flights.
At present, Biman is operating seven domestic and two international flights – to Kolkata and Kathmandu – using the existing Dash 8 Q400 aircraft.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already given their vote of confidence for the purchase of Bombardier aircraft, sources said.
In October this year, international media outlets reported that the US Chamber of Commerce rejected an appeal against the huge tariff it imposed on Bombardier in favour of rival aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
A further 80% tariff was imposed on the import of Bombardier’s C-Series, adding to the 220% rate already introduced by US Congress. Boeing has claimed that Bombardier benefited from illegal state subsidies from Canada and the UK and dumped the planes at “absurdly low” prices.
The imposition of massive tariff on US imports threatens Bombardier jobs in Northern Ireland: 4,000 are directly linked to the construction of the C-Series.