Biman to add more aircraft, destinations: Ali Ahsan Babu
-A Monitor Report
01 Nov, 2017  |
Ali Ahsan Babu, Director, Sales and Marketing
Dhaka : After turning itself around financially, Biman Bangladesh Airlines now engaged to strengthen itself further by offering world-class services on air and on the ground, increasing its sphere of business, using its resources to the utmost and cutting fuel and other costs in the next fiscal year.
The airline will add one wide body and two narrow body aircraft to its fleet in 2017-2018 fiscal year. The airline hopes to receive two new Boeing B787s (Dreamliners) in November 2018, take two Boeing B737 on dry lease for five years and one wide body on wet lease for eight months.
Ali Ahsan Babu, Director, Sales and Marketing said, the airline hopes to increase its network by adding Colombo and Male within this period and add New York, New Delhi, Canton and Hong Kong to its list of destinations in the future. Business Class passengers can avail "all-day dining" facility while onboard the aircraft; and the new aircraft will have Panasonic in-flight (IFE) entertainment and offer Wi-Fi facilities at 35,000 feet. Children's meal and meals for diabetic passengers are also available.
He said the airline has reduced its baggage delivery time, with the first baggage arriving with 25 minutes and the last one within 40 minutes. Tk 150 crore worth of ground handling equipment have been procured to offer better ground support to it's and aircraft and those of other airlines.
Passengers can already book Biman tickets through SMS and make payments through "Rocket" system of Dutch Bangla Bank Limited.
Meanwhile, Biman in collaboration with bKash, has provided payment solution to 28 million mobile phone users giving us access to 100 per cent reach in electronic payment system together with credit and debit card holders he said, adding soon bKash will be included in the payment gateway and together with the aps (under development) any body holding a smart phone, will get full access to Biman's inventory. It will ensure more clarity and people's right to establish direct contact with airlines avoiding the middleman.
The airline also aims to achieve the capability to C check Boeing B777-300ERs, as C checks are due for two of them on November 30, 2017, one on December 31, 2017 and another one on May 31, 2018. It hopes to attain the same capability for Boeing B787s (Dreamliners) by December 31, 2018.
The airline hopes to attain IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) standard in its ground handling operations through GAP analysis and preparation or updating of required manuals.
The airline also hopes to fully implement Safety Management System (SMS), which it had launched earlier.
Ahsan said, Biman, on its part, would do whatever is entailed to assist Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh CAAB) to attain FAA Category 1.
Over the last three years, Biman has been turned into a profitable establishment. The airline introduced revenue management system including RAPID System for revenue automation.
To meet national and international safety requirements, Biman renewed its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate, added two Boeing B737-800s and two Dash-8 Q400s to its fleet, launched "Rocket" payment system and SMS service for the convenience of passengers and Travel Agent Portal (TAP) for the benefit of travel agencies.
Flight Data Analysis Programme (FDM) and FPS system (to analyse profit and loss of flights) have been introduced, with FDM leading to substantial - 75 per cent - reduction of "flight events." The airline has also signed Flight Data Exchange (FDX) agreement with International Air Transport Association (IATA).
He said, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) 147 certificate of Bangladesh Airlines Training Centre (BATC) has been renewed.
The airline has attained the competency of "A" check of B777-300ER and Dash 8-Q400, and C check of B737-800.
In cargo, it has installed Cargo Spot Automated Cash Receipt system and is expected to be paperless soon. The airline has decided to keep its cargo import terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) open for seven days a week from now on to remove accumulation of goods.
Biman, which is responsible for cargo handling, will facilitate goods release through the gates A and B of the terminal every day, with the help of Customs department and Sonali Bank.
Biman authority sought cooperation from all importers and Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) agents in improving the standard of cargo handling of HSIA.
Biman has recently won the prestigious `Foreign Airline of the year-2015' from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia. This award is given by the KLIA Management, based on highest passenger carried between Kuala Lumpur and South Asia sectors. Biman earned this rare feat 'Foreign airline of the year' award from KLIA also in 2011 and 2014.
It has also won the prestigious 'Airlines Service Incentive Scheme Payout-2016' award from Changi International Airport in Singapore recently. The award is given for landing and departing the flight on time and for better service delivery to the passengers. On time departing ratio of Biman Bangladesh at Changi Airport is 99.03 per cent. The Biman Bangladesh also got special tax facilities for its great achievement.
Ahsan said, the airline which soft opened "Biman Holidays" in March this year, aiming to boost up country's tourism sector , as well as encourage the holiday makers for in-and-out-bound travel, will formally launch its holiday wing with added features within the next three months.
It already offers travel services to 96 more destinations, apart from the Biman's scheduled destinations, hotel booking, discount at hospitals and other services along with bank EMI facilities. Under Biman Holidays packages, travellers would get special discount at renowned hospitals in India, Thailand and Malaysia, while lowest rate booking at 350,000 hotels of different countries and all hotels in Bangladesh.
Passengers of the airline are already getting 5 to 15 per cent discount at any branch of Apollo Hospitals chain in India.
Travellers are also availing ticket and holiday packages from the holiday wing with bank EMI facilities - anyone can book these packages at Tk 999, which is also refundable. Country's six leading banks are offering EMI for ticket and holiday packages.
Under aged single travellers and senior citizens are being provided with special assistance. Passengers under Biman Holidays packages would also enjoy mobile SIM card, top-up and baggage lost-and-found facilities as the one-stop service.
A passenger after purchasing ticket from Biman Holidays, are getting pick up and drop from home to airport as well as 'meet and assistance' service by dedicated staffs upon the arrival at the airport. They are also enjoying Biman Holiday lounge's food and beverage. The unit is also offering visa assistance.