• Friday, Jan 27, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Covid-19: Biman unveils recovery plan

  • Published at 02:19 pm May 22nd, 2021
File photo of Boeing 777-300 ER flying under the banner of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The CEO eyes profits if they can operate flights on time

National carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has unveiled plans to recover from the losses it incurred due the recent surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths since early last year.

While talking to Dhaka Tribune, newly appointed Managing Director and CEO Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal said that apart from short-, mid- and long-term plans, they had a 100-day strategic plan to take the company to a new height.

Due to the pandemic fallout, Biman was forced to cut salaries, and reduced its maintenance and operational costs. But operating exclusive charter flights, efficient routing and network planning during the lockdown helped the national carrier bag a handsome revenue.

Despite this, the CEO said, Biman had suffered severe capacity and revenue losses like the other airlines. “However, we will soon find out the reasons behind the losses and come up with a solution to make profits,” he added.

According to sources, due to the pandemic, Biman received a stimulus support of Tk1,000 crore from the government in April last year and it has already utilized Tk778 crore.

Meanwhile, Biman earned a revenue of Tk2,329 crore but spent Tk3,529 crore in the last two years.

The new strategies

Mostafa Kamal thinks Biman needs to increase its visibility in social media for branding – both locally and internationally. He said that if they could operate the flights on time and maintain the schedules, the airline would do good business and make profits.

His high priority tasks include improving Biman’s on-time performance, ground handling and baggage delivery, and maintaining flight schedules.

Moreover, Biman plans to bring the third terminal under strong management, introduce a new service product, ensure proper recruitment of pilots and cabin crews, carry out maintenance under flexible management, and find out the reasons behind flight delays.

Biman has used the stimulus aid and its revenue to pay bank loans, and bear the arrears and maintenance costs.

Md Mokammel Hossain, secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, was worried about Biman’s bank loans, which it used to purchase eight brand new aircrafts.

“Biman has failed to make a profit and now it has to increase the fleet size to 50 by 2030,” said a board member, who wished to remain anonymous.

There is nothing much to do about the failure as many flights could not operate regularly due to the travel bans during lockdown. “However, Biman is trying to recover from the situation by converting passenger aircrafts to full cargo flights to meet the demands,” he added.

Biman is currently operating cargo charter flights to three destinations – Canton, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

After the pandemic surged last year, the number of passengers decreased significantly compared to the previous years. The number will up once the new plans are implemented, the CEO hopes.

Biman carried 2.8 million passengers in 2018-2019 fiscal year, 2 million in FY 2019-2020, and only 823,000 in FY 2020-2021 (up to April).

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