Biman Bangladesh Airlines to turn into a profitable entity again
27 February 2015, Nirapad News: Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd is set to turn into a profitable entity from the current fiscal year (FY) 2014-15 after a recess in the last five years following efforts on modernisation, automation and revenue integration.
The national flag carrier already posted a net profit of Tk 2.71 billion (271 crore) in the first seven months of the current FY until January last against a net loss of Tk 1.48 billion during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, told a senior Biman official.
It has been making a net profit every consecutive month since August last year, a rare phenomenon in the past. It earned Tk 205 million in August last, Tk 1.23 billion in September, Tk 867 million in October, Tk 231 million in November, Tk 18 million in December and Tk 263 million in January, the Biman data reveals.
In the past 14 years of operation since FY’01, Biman made profits only in three fiscal years-Tk 341 million in FY’04, Tk 59.10 million in FY’08 and Tk 155.8 million in FY’09, according to the data. Except the three fiscal years the national flag carrier incurred losses in every other fiscal -Tk 930 million in FY’01, Tk 737 million in FY’02, Tk 442 million in FY’03, Tk 1.91 billion in FY’05, Tk 4.54 billion in FY’06, Tk 2.72 billion in FY’07, Tk 801 million in FY’10, Tk 1.99 billion in FY’11, Tk 6.07 billion in FY’12, Tk 1.91 billion in FY’13 and Tk 2.54 billion in FY’14.
“Biman is now making profit as a result of modernisation, automation and revenue integration undertaken over the last several years,” said the Chairman of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Air Marshal Jamal Uddin Ahmed on Wednesday.
He said Biman inducted two new aircraft-Boeing 777 – 300 ERs-in its fleet in February and March respectively in 2014 on purchase from the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners Boeing as part of its modernisation drive to ensure better operations and serve the clients better. Biman also took lease of two Boeing 777 – 200 ER aircraft in March and May respectively in 2014 from the Egypt Air to strengthen its fleet base, said Mr Ahmed. It also had inducted two Boeing 777-300 ERs in its fleet in October and November respectively in 2011 after purchase. The new generation planes were fuel-efficient and reduced Biman’s maintenance costs substantially, he said.
Biman also inked a deal last week with Smart Aviation of Egypt for two Dash 8-Q400 aircraft under the terms of a five -year agreement on a dry lease basis. The aircraft will arrive in Dhaka next month and will be used for commercial service subsequently. “These planes will be used to develop the carrier’s domestic flight network,” said a Biman official.
The national flag carrier had been purchasing and taking lease of modern and new generation aircraft spending money from its own coffer, he said. Biman paid US$ 700 million to Boeing to purchase four Boeing 777 – 300 ER aircrafts alone, he added. Under the strategy to make Biman competitive with other international aircraft it has also been retiring outdated and fuel-guzzler aircraft.
“I found Biman in a shabby state with outdated and inefficient aircraft all around when I took over as the Chairman of Biman Bangladesh Airlines in January 2009,” said Mr Ahmed. It was running with over 35-year-old fuel-guzzler aircraft compelling Biman to shoulder heavy maintenance and operation costs every year, he said. “After taking office I boldly made five age-old DC-10-30 aircraft retire after their commercial operations for 32-35 years each from the date of their manufacture,” the Biman Chairman said. “I also sent three F-28 aircraft into retirement after their commercial operations for 34-35 years from the date of their manufacture,” said Mr Ahmed. Biman could avoid hefty costs over maintenance and fuel consumption and clients’ dissatisfaction after withdrawal of these outdated and fuel-guzzler planes, he added.
Apart from the induction of new generation aircraft, Biman also automated its software, updated its trading system over the past several years to cope with the increasing global competition among the international airliners, he said.