Bangladesh Airlines (Bengali: বিমান
বাংলাদেশ এয়ারলাইন্স),[nb 1]
partly transcribed from English into Bengali and the other way around,
commonly known as Biman (Bengali: বিমান), is the flag
carrier of Bangladesh. Its main hub is at Shahjalal International
Dhaka and it also operates flights from its secondary hubs
Shah Amanat International Airport
Shah Amanat International Airport in
Chittagong and Osmani
International Airport in Sylhet. The airline provides international
passenger and cargo services to its destinations; as of
April 2015[update], it has air service agreements with 42
countries, but flies to just 16 of them. The airline's
headquarters, Balaka Bhaban, is located in Kurmitola, Dhaka. Annual
Hajj flights; transporting tourists and non-resident Bangladeshi
workers and migrants; and the activities of its subsidiaries form an
integral part of the airline's business.:11 The carrier is
currently facing stiff competition from a number of domestic
Bangladeshi private airlines as well as some international carriers,
which offer greater flexibility targeting Bangladesh's air transport
sector which is experiencing an 8% annual growth rate, thanks to a
large number of tourists and non-resident Bangladeshi travellers.
Created in February 1972, Biman enjoyed an internal monopoly in the
aviation industry of
Bangladesh until 1996. In the decades
following its founding, the airline expanded its fleet and
destinations but it was adversely affected by corruption and
mismanagement. At its peak, Biman operated flights to 29 international
destinations, extending from New York City in the west to Tokyo in the
east. The airline was wholly owned and managed by the government of
Bangladesh until 23 July 2007, when it was transformed into the
country's largest public limited company by the Caretaker Government
of Bangladesh. Since becoming a public limited company in 2007, the
airline has reduced staff and begun to modernise its fleet. The
airline has made a deal with
Boeing for ten new aircraft along with
options for ten more. Biman
Bangladesh Airlines is certified as
safe to fly in Europe by the European Aviation Safety Agency and
it also successfully passed the
IATA Operational Safety Audit
IATA Operational Safety Audit and
since then, the airline has resumed flights to some of its previous
destinations in Asia and Europe.
2 Corporate affairs
2.1 Key people
2.3.4 Public limited company
3.1 Flight classes
3.2 In-flight amenities
3.3 Frequent-flyer program
3.5 Biman Cargo
4.1 New York and Manchester
5.4 Historical fleet
6 Accidents and incidents
7 See also
10 External links
See also: History of aviation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Airlines was established on 4 January 1972 as
Bangladesh's national airline under the
Bangladesh Biman Ordinance
(Presidential Order No. 126). The initiative to launch the
flag carrier was taken by 2,500 former employees, including ten Boeing
707 commanders and seven other pilots of Pakistan International
Airlines, who submitted a proposal to the government on 31 December
1971 following the independence of Bangladesh.:6 The airline was
initially called Air
Bangladesh but was soon changed to its current
Fokker F-27 Friendship of Biman
Bangladesh Airlines at the then Dum
Dum Airport in 1974.
On 4 February 1972, Biman started its domestic services, initially
Dhaka with Chittagong,
Jessore and Sylhet, using a single
Douglas DC-3 acquired from India. Following the crash of this DC-3
on 10 February 1972, near Dhaka, during a test flight, two Fokker
F27s belonging to
Indian Airlines and supplied by the Indian
government entered the fleet as a replacement. Shortly afterwards,
additional capacity was provided with the incorporation of a Douglas
DC-6, loaned by the World Council of Churches, which was in turn
replaced with another Douglas DC-6, a DC-6B model leased from
Troll-Air, to operate the Dhaka-Calcutta route. On 4 March 1972,
Biman started its international operations with a weekly flight to
London using a
Boeing 707 chartered from British Caledonian. The
short haul fleet was supplemented by a
Fokker F27 from India on 3
March 1972; the aircraft was employed on a daily scheduled flight
between Calcutta and
Dhaka on 28 April 1972.:7 Three additional
Fokker F27s were acquired during March and September of that
year.:6 In the first year of operation, Biman operated 1,079
flights carrying just over 380,000 passengers.:8
Boeing 707-320C on short final to London
Heathrow Airport in 1981.
Four Fokker F27s joined the fleet in 1973, enabling Biman to double
the frequency of the
Kolkata flight to a twice daily service.:7 A
Boeing 707 was added to the fleet in September and the flight to
London became twice-weekly, while a Chittagong–
Kolkata flight also
began operating.:7 In 1974, operations were extended to Kathmandu
Bangkok (November) and
Dubai (December).:7 In 1976,
Biman sold two of its Fokker F27s and bought another
Boeing 707 to
extend international services to Abu Dhabi,
Karachi and Mumbai.:7
Singapore was added to Biman's list of international destinations,
when a third
Boeing 707 was purchased in February 1977, followed by
Amsterdam the following year, which also saw the
purchase of its fourth
Boeing 707.:7 In 1977, Biman was converted
into a public sector corporation to be governed by a board of
directors appointed by the government.:7 The airline broke even
for the first time in 1977–78, and made a profit the following
year.:8 International destinations expanded to include Kuala
Lumpur, Athens, Muscat and
Tripoli in 1979, followed by Yangon, Tokyo
Dhahran in 1980.:7 Biman took delivery of its first 85-seater
Fokker F28-4000 in 1981. In 1983, three Douglas DC-10s joined the
fleet and the airline started to phase out the
The flight network expanded further to include
Baghdad (1983), Paris
Bahrain (1986).:7 On 5 August 1984, Biman faced its
worst accident ever when a
Fokker F27 flying in from Chittagong
crashed near Dhaka, killing all 49 on board. The long haul fleet
was then supplemented by the purchase of two new
Airbus A310s in 1996,
followed by the addition of two more in 2000, from
and Air Jamaica, and another in 2003.:7
777-300ER on short final to London
Heathrow Airport in 2013.
As of June 2016[update], the chairman position is held by Air
Mshl Muhammad Enamul Bari; A. M. Mosaddique Ahmed is the managing
director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO).
Kevin John Steele, who served as MD and
CEO of Biman from March
2013 to April 2014, was the first foreign national in the
airline's history to be appointed
CEO and MD of Biman. He was
chosen from a pool of 42 local and foreign candidates after a
competitive selection process. Steele is a British citizen who has
many years of experience working in management and administrative
British Airways and other airlines around the
world. Steele resigned to Biman's MD and
CEO positions in
December 2013 (2013-12) citing health issues. Steele
left office on 19 April 2014 (2014-04-19). Kyle
Haywood took office as Biman's MD and
5 January 2015 (2015-01-05). A British national,
Haywood was the second foreign national to hold the airline's CEO
position after Kevin Steele.
The airline was wholly owned by the Bangladeshi government through the
Bangladesh Biman Corporation since its inception. In 1977, Biman was
converted into a public sector corporation which afforded Biman
limited autonomy, led by a government-appointed board of
directors.:7 The authorised share capital was increased to
BDT 2 billion in 1987, and Biman was transformed into a
public limited company, the largest in Bangladesh, in 2007.
During the late 1980s, Hossain Mohammad Ershad, President of
Bangladesh at the time, served as president of Biman. After an early
period of expansion and growth, Biman entered an era of nose-diving
profits and slow growth, exacerbated by incompetent and corrupt
management, who padded purchases, falsified repair bills, and kept
unprofitable routes in operation for political reasons.
Research conducted in 1996 found that Biman had 5,253 non-flying
personnel, 30 percent more than
Singapore Airlines, a carrier who
operated a fleet almost ten times the size of Biman's. The report
described Biman as "poorly managed, overstaffed, undercapitalized, and
subject to excessive political interference in its day-to-day
Bangladesh Airlines F28-4000 Fellowship at Bangkok-Don Mueang
Airport in 1995. Biman received the first aircraft of this type in
In the 1992–93 fiscal year, accounts under the Ministry of Civil
Aviation and Tourism revealed that BDT 22 million in tax was
not paid to the government. The audit carried out in 1999, also showed
that Biman was owed BDT 2.2 million by travel agents from
the proceeds of ticket sales, most likely with the collusion of Biman
officials. Additionally, BDT 2.4 million was overpaid as
incentive commissions to the sales agents in violation of Biman
policies. In 2007, the caretaker government launched an
anti-corruption drive. This was shortly followed by the forced
retirement of 35 other employees and officials, some of whom were
close aides of Shamim Iskander. In 2008 Iskander, younger brother
of former premier Khaleda Zia, was sent to jail over charges of
concealing information regarding his wealth and not for his connection
Faced with growing losses from the late 1990s onwards, the
government offered 40 percent of Biman to foreign airlines in
2004, hoping a buyer would take over the management of the carrier.
However, the proposal demanded that many decision-making rights remain
Bangladesh government, and the offer was ignored by outside
airlines. A similar initiative in 1998 cost Biman $1.6 million in
consultancy fees with no positive results.
In the 2005–06 fiscal year, Biman carried 1.15 million
passengers, a growth of 70% over the previous decade. With the rise of
private domestic carriers in Bangladesh, however, Biman's market share
for domestic passengers dropped by 35% over the previous ten years'
average, with only 162,000 passengers travelling with Biman in
the domestic sector in the 2005–06 fiscal year. During the same
period, Biman reported its biggest annual loss of over
US$120 million (BDT 8.3 billion as of 2010), with a
US$100 million (BDT 6.9 billion as of 2010) loss
reported the following year. Biman also fell behind on millions of
dollars in payments to its fuel supplier, the
Corporation (BPC), with debts that rose to
BDT 15.64 billion in late
December 2006 (2006-12).
Public limited company
In May 2007 (2007-05), the caretaker government approved
plans to turn Biman into a public limited company with shareholdings
split between seven public sector organisations. As a part of the
restructuring, the government put in place a voluntary retirement
scheme (VRS) to reduce the man-equipment ratio (MER) of 367:1 (ratio
of manpower to aircraft). The industry average at the time was
200:1, and other Asian airlines operated with MERs of about 150:1.
The VRS provided compensation based on length of service, at a cost to
the government of over BDT 2.97 billion borrowed from the
World Bank. Biman management expected to reduce its workforce by
1,600, but 2,162 applications were received, many from employees
who expected to be dismissed with little or no severance pay if the
quota was not met. Biman accepted between 1,863 and 1877
applications, and affirmed that key personnel would not be allowed
to leave the organisation via VRS.
On 23 July 2007, Biman
Bangladesh Airlines became the largest
public limited company in Bangladesh. Earlier suggestions that the
airline should be renamed
Bangladesh Airlines were rejected. The
government is the sole shareholder of the 1.5 billion shares, but
intends to offer 49 percent to the private sector while retaining
majority ownership. The previous managing director, Dr. Abdul
Momen, was appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) and managing
director of the new organisation. The six directors were appointed
from the ministries of energy, commerce, finance, civil aviation,
foreign affairs, and the cabinet division, with the cabinet secretary
taking on the role as chairman of the board of directors. The six
secretaries and a joint secretary to the civil aviation ministry were
made the seven shareholders of the new PLC. In
September 2008 (2008-09), the government appointed Air
Commodore Zahed Kuddus (retd) to replace Dr. Momen as CEO. From
2002 to 2005 Kuddus had been chair of the Civil Aviation Authority of
Bangladesh (CAAB), before which he had held various posts in the
Bangladesh Air Force.
Following the privatisation, an initiative was launched by ex-Biman
employees, who left the organisation via the VRS, to set up a
competing airline. Names proposed for the airline included Air
Bangla International, Biman Employees Airlines and Balaka. They
were joined by previous managing directors of Biman, along with the
former president of the
Bangladesh Airline Pilots' Association.
However, nothing further was heard of regarding the proposed venture.
The airline made profits in FY 2007–08 (BDT 60 million)
and FY 2008–09 (BDT 150 million); In FY 2009–10,
however, the carrier incurred in a net loss of
BDT 800 million.
In FY 2010–11 it made losses of BDT 2 billion, despite
the government exempting it a debt of about
BDT 11.94 billion and BDT 5.73 billion owed to the
BPC and the CAAB, respectively. In FY 2011–12 it made a loss of
BDT 6.06 billion (US$75 million); in FY 2012–13
unaudited figures show a loss of BDT 2 billion. The
airline plans to be fully profitable by FY 2014–15. As of
December 2013[update], Biman owed BDT 15.60 billion to
different sources; of which BDT 3676.2 million to
CAAB and BDT 8.50 billion to Padma Oil Company, its fuel
supplier. Biman made a profit of BDT 2.72 billion in FY
Main article: Biman
Bangladesh Airlines subsidiaries
Biman's subsidiaries are associated with aircraft ground handling,
aviation engineering, aviation training and flight catering. There
are five wholly owned subsidiaries, including:
Biman Ground Handling (BGH)
Aircraft ground handling
Bangladesh Airlines Training Centre (BATC)
Biman Flight Catering Centre (BFCC)
Biman Poultry Complex (BPC)
Poultry farming complex
Since 1972, BGH provides ground-handling services for all airports in
Bangladesh; the company reported a profit of
BDT 4.5 billion for the FY 2011–12. The wholly owned
subsidiary BFCC was set up in 1989 to provide in-flight meals. It
is one of Biman's profitable operations, supplying food to Saudia,
Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Emirates, Dragon Air, China
Southern Airlines and Regent Airways, along with casual orders from
other airlines operating into Bangladesh. The BFCC consumes 90% of
the eggs and chickens from the BPC, another profit-making subsidiary
of Biman formed in 1976 and put into operation in November 1980 to
rear poultry at farms in Dhaka. Bird flu was detected at one
of the farms in March 2007, and many of the birds were culled.
This was the first incident of bird flu in Bangladesh.
Biman is notable for disruptions to its flight schedule and poor
customer service. In 2007, Biman faced strong criticism from major
international airports including
Heathrow Airport and Dubai
International Airport for its failure to maintain flight schedules.
Heathrow Airport operator BAA wrote to Biman providing evidence which
showed Biman had not achieved the minimum 80% usage of its allocated
landing slots at Heathrow, as required by EU and International Air
Transport Association (IATA) regulations, during the summer of 2007.
Biman should, therefore, not expect slot allocations at Heathrow for
the summer of 2008 and should look to Stansted or Gatwick airports if
it wished to continue serving London. Following discussions with
BAA, however, Biman obtained landing slots for the summer of 2008 on
condition that it achieved 80% usage. Delays continued unabated
and in September 2008, Biman's Dhaka–
London direct flight utilising
a DC-10 aircraft was diverted and landed at Gatwick when it did not
have sufficient fuel to remain in a holding pattern over Heathrow
following arrival over three hours after the scheduled time. In a
10 September 2008 article published in The Times, Biman was labelled
the worst performer for punctuality at Heathrow, with flights delayed
on average by three hours. In 2008, the United Nations advised its
staff not to fly with Biman, citing both safety and security concerns
and Biman's unreliable flight schedules. It was made clear that UN
staff who flew with Biman did so at their own risk, and would be
ineligible to make claims on insurance. Biman's then newly appointed
managing director said he was unaware of the UN directive, but
admitted that Biman did face problems in managing its flight
schedules. He expected the situation to improve with the procurement
of aircraft in the coming months.
In 2013, Biman signed agreements with SITA and Mercator to
provide infrastructure support and revenue accounting services to the
In 2014, Biman launched advance seat reservation system on its
website. The airline also offers online meal selection option, where
the passenger can choose from diabetic meals, vegetarian meals, Asian
vegetarian meal, child meal and Muslim meal, that will be served on
Interior of business class cabin of Biman
Bangladesh Airlines Boeing
777-300ER en route to
Dhaka from Jeddah.
A two-class service (J and Y) is operated on all of Biman's airliners.
The Business Class cabin on its
Boeing 777 are arranged in a 2–3–2
configuration, while economy class cabin is set up in a 3–3–3
configuration. The narrow-body
Boeing 737-800s' Business Class is set
up in a 2–2 configuration while Economy Class is in a 3–3
Biman relaunched its inflight magazine re-branded as Bihanga in
September 2013. The bi-monthly magazine, previously known as Diganta,
and prior to that Jatri, is published by Subcontinental Media Group.
The magazine is available in both Bengali and English, covering topics
Bangladesh and Biman's destinations. English and Bengali
language newspapers are also available on board in the
Boeing 777s are equipped with modern in-flight
entertainment. Every seat is fitted with personal touch screen
displays provided by Thales. It is loaded with movies, songs and
games. It also has high resolution moving maps and live flight
information. It is in two languages – English and Bengali.
Biman launched in-flight duty free sales in March 2014, branded as
Biman Boutique. The duty-free products include: perfumes,
cosmetics, jewelleries, watches, children's gifts, chocolate and
In 2014, Biman launched amenity kit for children on-board which
include coloring books, stationery, dolls and jigsaw puzzle.
Biman is one of the few airlines which doesn't serve Alcohol beverages
on its flights.
Biman Loyalty Club, the frequent flyer program of the airline.
Biman launched a frequent-flyer program, named Biman Loyalty Club, in
November 2013. It offers rewards such as tiered benefits, mileage
bonuses, extra baggage, lounge access and priority check-in at
As of July 2014, the frequent-flyer program had 8,000 members.
An agreement was signed with Amadeus in 2007 to upgrade Biman's
ticketing system with an e-ticketing solution to comply with IATA
rules, which set out a deadline of 31 December 2007 for all member
airlines to switch over their ticketing systems. E-ticketing has
enabled major airlines to provide online check-in facilities, reducing
the need to queue up at check-in counters. However, Biman has not made
any attempts to improve customer service through the adoption of
e-ticketing, although it has been able to reduce its own costs. In
2005, Biman had briefly stopped using the Amadeus ticketing system
when the government suspended the operation of a local Amadeus
subsidiary following a court order, after allegations of money
laundering. The suspension, however, lasted only a month, and was
lifted after the writ was appealed in the High Court.
In 2013, Biman signed an agreement with German e-ticketing company
Hahn Air, enabling Biman's tickets to be purchased from anywhere
around the world.
Biman also operates a cargo service using the cargo holds of its
passenger aircraft to ship freight to international destinations.
It has established Cargo Village at Shahjalal International Airport
where the cargo is packaged and labelled before being loaded onto its
While the air cargo industry in
Bangladesh grew by 16.5% in the fiscal
year 2003–04, Biman's cargo operations remained stagnant when
private operators such as Bismillah Airlines, Best Aviation and Air
Bangladesh produced a 108% growth from the previous year. The private
operators increased their share of the cargo market by 10.6% and were
responsible for handling 24% of the total 99,000 tonnes of cargo
at the expense of both Biman and foreign airlines which saw a
reduction in their shares by 4.6% and 6.0% respectively. Foreign
airlines handled 47% of the total cargo with Biman taking on the
As with its passenger service and management, corruption has also been
rife at Biman Cargo. An investigation in 2004 uncovered irregularities
in a number of Biman's Middle East operations which deprived the
government of millions of dollars in revenue. Biman officials in Dubai
were found to have been "extending special privileges" to the main
freight handler in exchange for bribes. The smuggling of foreign
currency and gold bars is reported to have taken place at the Biman
Cargo Village by Biman and CAAB employees. A number of arrests were
made but the perpetrators evaded punishment through lack of evidence
and pressure from the CAAB union.
See also: Biman
Bangladesh Airlines destinations
As of December 2016[update], Biman serves 23 destinations, 15 of
them international. However, the carrier has air service
agreements with 43 countries leaving room for expansion for which it
lacks aircraft. The airline operates flights to several
destinations in the Middle East, some destinations in South and South
East Asia and
London in Europe.
The airline announced intentions to commence flights to
Kunming in China in summer 2014. Former Biman board director Kazi
Oahedul Alam criticised the expansion as poorly planned and not
New York and Manchester
From 1993 to 2006, Biman operated flights to John F. Kennedy
International Airport, New York City, from
Brussels. New York was Biman's farthest and most prestigious
destination, and was kept operational despite heavy financial losses
to maintain a landing slot in the US which, if cancelled, could be
difficult to regain. To curb the losses, Biman reduced the
service to one flight per week and re-routed it through Manchester
Airport, UK, capitalising on travel demands from the expatriate
Bangladeshi community in the north of England. On 8 April 2006,
Biman's inaugural flight to Manchester landed at
Manchester Airport en
route to JFK. However, the
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
had placed the Civil Aviation Authority of
Bangladesh (CAAB) into
Category 2 (does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization
standards) according to its International Aviation Safety Assessment
Program, which placed additional restrictions on the country's
airlines when flying to the US. A former CAAB assistant director made
scathing remarks about the CAAB in an opinion article in the Aviatour,
a monthly travel and tourism supplement of Bangladeshi news magazine
Weekly Holiday. For Biman, this meant that it could continue
flying to the US, but could not expand or make alterations to its
routes, such as changing the transit from Brussels to Manchester. The
FAA fined Biman for breaching its rules, and flights to New York were
again re-routed through Brussels.
The FAA had already warned Biman to replace its ageing DC-10s by
December 2005. According to experts, these aircraft were inadequately
equipped to safely cross the Atlantic. On 13 May 2006, the
FAA refused permission for Biman flight BG001 (Dhaka–Brussels–JFK)
to enter its airspace, citing safety concerns over the ailing DC–10
aircraft used on the route. The flight was diverted to
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Canada,
where the passengers were provided with alternative airline options to
complete their journey. Canadian authorities inspected the
aircraft and gave it a clean bill of health after which the aircraft
Dhaka without any passengers. The FAA eventually admitted
it was mistaken and apologised for the error.
The incident put an end to the route, which had been losing
US$80,000 per flight, owing to its use of obsolete DC-10s.
Biman decided to axe the route along with a number of other regional
and domestic routes to curb the huge losses being incurred by the
airline each month. However, in October 2007, Biman was directed
by the then caretaker government to resume flights to New York. Biman
was given until 25 October 2008 (extended from an earlier deadline of
23 March 2008) to resume flights to the airport by the JFK airport
authority, after which it would have lost the landing slot
The resumption of flights to the United States may take place in 2015,
this depending on the FAA upgrading the category of the CAAB which is
still category 2, as of May 2015[update].
The annual Islamic pilgrimage to
Mecca for the
Hajj is undertaken by
thousands of Bangladesh's predominantly Muslim population. Biman has
been the sole Bangladeshi airline permitted by the government to
provide flights for pilgrims to King Abdulaziz International Airport,
Jeddah. Every year, the commencement of these flights is inaugurated
by high-ranking government officials, including, at times, the Prime
In 2002, the government opened the service to private tour operators
for the first time. The initial private flights were plagued with
delays, with both outgoing and return flights postponed for as long as
nine days, which caused the
Bangladesh government to return
Hajj flights' monopoly to Biman.
Boeing 747-200 leased by Biman from Kabo Air.
Biman's handling of
Hajj flights has also been beset with troubles. In
2005, the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism resigned after
complaints that he set fares too high. In 2006, Biman took the
unprecedented step of removing the business–class seats from its
Hajj flights to accommodate more economy-class
passengers. Procedural irregularities by the
delayed the confirmation of pilgrims' visas, and Biman had to cancel
19 flights owing to lack of sufficient passengers. Once the situation
was resolved, Biman was then unable to offer the required number of
flights to cope with the backlog of passengers.
In June 2007, the caretaker government approved a three-year Hajj
policy aiming to alleviate the problems encountered during the
previous two years.
Hajj flights would also begin leaving from
Bangladesh's two other international airports, Shah Amanat
International Airport and Osmani International Airport. Biman put
out a tender for the wet lease of two aircraft for additional Hajj
flights and reached an agreement with Phuket Air. However, the deal
fell through in August 2007 after
Phuket Air demanded advance payment
of 30% instead of the previously agreed-to 10%. Ausban
Aeronautical Services of Australia was selected next, following a
re-tender, to fill the gap left by Phuket Air. In 2008, Biman
wet-leased a 542-seater
Boeing 747-200 from
Kabo Air of Nigeria for
six months to operate flights to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Boeing 747-300 was leased from Orient Thai
As of June 2014[update], Biman still experienced difficulties in
providing their scheduled services, as the carrier gave priority to
the transportation of pilgrims to
Jeddah during the
Hajj season using
aircraft that otherwise were flown on its regular flights.
Despite this, the airline reported a profit of almost
BDT 1 billion from the 2012
Hajj season, the highest results
ever since these services were started in 1973.
Boeing 737-800 approaches
Airport in 2012.
A vintage Douglas Dakota and
Douglas DC-3 were the first aircraft in
Biman's fleet. Domestic operations commenced with the acquisition
Fokker F27 aircraft flying passengers to
Chittagong and Sylhet
from its base in Dhaka. Shortly afterwards, a
Boeing 707, chartered
from British Caledonian, joined the airline's fleet, allowing Biman to
begin international flights. In 1983, Biman purchased three McDonnell
Douglas DC-10-30 aircraft from
Singapore Airlines to provide services
on its long haul routes. The
British Aerospace ATP
British Aerospace ATP entered the
fleet in late 1990, coming to replace the Fokker F27s.
During the mid-1990s, Biman switched its airliner of choice for long
haul routes to the
Airbus series of aircraft. In 1995, two
Airbus A310-300s were ordered; the first of
them joined the fleet on
15 June 1996 (1996-06-15). It nevertheless
retained its elderly DC–10 fleet. For over three decades, the
DC–10–30s were Biman's sole widebody aircraft and served the
airline consistently well, with no noteworthy mechanical problems –
in marked contrast to the record of its domestic operations. These
were operated with
Fokker F28 and BAe ATPs which were routinely out of
service because of technical trouble. In one incident, a government
minister disembarked a flight and travelled by road when he learned
that the aircraft he was on was a BAe ATP. In January 2003, Biman
Boeing 737-300s which were used on domestic and regional
routes for eighteen months.
McDonnell Douglas DC-10s and
Airbus A310-300s made up most of Biman's
international fleet, before the delivery of the modern Boeing
777-300ERs started in 2011. Fokker F28s made up the remainder of
the fleet for the domestic and regional sectors, before they were
retired in 2012. Biman's fleet contains the second-to-last
Douglas DC–10 to come off the production line (l/n 445), and only
Airbus A310–300s were produced following Biman's
purchase of two new
Airbus A310s in 1996. The two Fokker
F28–4000s were acquired from
PBair in 2004 at a cost of
$2.91 million. Both of these aircraft were built in 1977,
making Biman's latest acquisitions the oldest aircraft in its
fleet. The ageing fleet made it difficult for Biman to maintain
its flight schedule, as the aircraft suffered from mechanical
problems, leading to flight delays and cancellations. A
number of aircraft remained grounded owing to lack of spare parts as
they are no longer manufactured and used parts are difficult to
source. A deal was signed in January 2012 (2012-01) a
three-year contract with a German company for the maintenance of their
powerplants, for the DC–10s. The airline operates its own
ancillary and maintenance facilities at Shahjalal International
Airport, where it carries out all maintenance work and C-Checks on
DC–10–30s and A310–300s.
In 2000, Biman put out a request for proposal for the acquisition of
four wide-bodied aircraft to replace the DC–10s, but both the fleet
renewal plans and the airline's expected privatisation were shelved by
the government. A further attempt was made in 2005 to acquire new
aircraft and plans were submitted for the purchase of ten new
Boeing aircraft at a total cost of
Boeing arranged to finance the purchase provided
a guarantee was given by the
Bangladesh government. After bureaucratic
delays and a perceived lack of commitment from the government, Boeing
lost interest and the plans were cancelled. A similar attempt to
purchase medium-haul aircraft for domestic service was also
postponed. In March 2007 (2007-03), Biman put out a
tender for the dry lease of two
Airbus A310-300 and two Airbus
A300-600 aircraft for two years. The sole response to the tender
came from Star Aviation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Airbus A310-300 in old livery approaches
Heathrow Airport in 2005.
After Biman became a public limited company, renewed attempts were
made to procure new-generation aircraft to replace its ageing fleet.
In November 2007,
Boeing made an offer to supply Biman with four
Boeing 777-200s (with options for two more) to be delivered by 2013
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners (with options for two more) to be
delivered by 2017 and provide similar aircraft on lease for the
interim period beginning in 2009. The average price
of these aircraft was quoted as US$165 million.
Airbus also made an offer to supply four
Airbus A320 or
series aircraft at a much lower price than that of Boeing.[citation
needed] To manage the fleet in the short run, Biman again floated a
tender in January 2008 to purchase/dry lease with options to purchase
Airbus A310-300 aircraft.
On 10 March 2008, the Biman management unveiled a plan to procure
eight next-generation wide-bodied aircraft from
Airplanes for a total cost of US$1.26 billion, including four
777-300ER (average price of US$182.9 million
per unit), and four
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners that will seat 294
(US$133.31 million per unit), to be delivered in 2017. The
deal for the acquisition of these eight aircraft was signed with
Boeing in April 2008, and also included a memorandum of
understanding for the purchase of two
Boeing 737-800s to be delivered
in 2015, with Biman making an initial instalment of
US$1.54 million. Of the remaining cost, US-based EXIM bank
will finance 85%, while a syndication of local banks will finance the
balance. In June the same year, Biman placed a firm order for two
Boeing 737-800s, and took options for two more aircraft of the
type. The total order for these ten aircraft was valued at around
Airbus A310-300 landing at Shahjalal
International Airport in 2012.
In 2010, Biman leased two
Boeing 777-200ERs from EuroAtlantic Airways.
These aircraft were used mainly on routes to European destinations to
cover the interim period before the delivery of the first two new
Boeing 777-300ERs in 2011. To secure the delivery of these two
brand new 777-300ERs the airline used an initial US$277 million
loan granted from JPMorgan Chase. Wearing a new livery,
the carrier took delivery of its first
777-300ER in late
October 2011. It was the 300th
777-300ER delivered by
Boeing. The 301st ever delivered
777-300ER also went
to Biman; the airline took possession of it in late
November 2011 (2011-11). The third
named Aakash Pradeep, was handed over to the carrier in
February 2014 (2014-02); the fourth one, named Raanga
Pravat, joined the fleet in March 2014 (2014-03),
following the government approving a US$356 million loan, of
which US$290 million will be provided by the
Ex-Im Bank and the
rest by the Standard Chartered Bank.
Biman retired its entire McDonnell
Douglas DC-10 fleet on 20 February
2014, by operating a special Dhaka-
Birmingham farewell flight with its
last DC-10, with a stopover at Kuwait; the carrier also operated nine
separate aviation enthusiasts' scenic flights at Birmingham, from
22–24 February, three flights a day. The aircraft was then
offered for sale as scrap in Dhaka. The
were withdrawn from service in October 2016.
The carrier leased two
Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from
March 2014. The airline plans to expand its fleet to 16 aircraft,
to allow route expansion. With newly leased Dash 8-Q400 aircraft,
the carrier is resuming full swing domestic flights to Cox's Bazar,
Barisal in April 2015. The two
aircraft, dry leased from
Smart Aviation Company
Smart Aviation Company for a period of five
years, will also be operated on regional flights to
Yangon. Initially it was supposed to resume in November 2013,
which Biman failed to as it was unable to find a lessor of
In February 2017, it was announced that the airline would acquire
three of their own Dash 8-Q400 which will be used to replace the
current aircraft leased from
Smart Aviation Company
Smart Aviation Company to continue
operating domestic and regional flights.
A rebranding of Biman in 2010, scrapped after 2 months
In modern Bengali, the word বিমান biman refers to
"aeroplane", originating from the
Sanskrit word vimāna, a name given
to a flying machine mentioned in ancient Vedic literature. The logo,
painted on the tail, is a stylised white stork (বলাকা
bôlaka) inside a red circle. The logo was designed by painter Quamrul
Hassan. The initial livery was a dark blue line extending across
the aircraft along the windows and covering the tail section. This was
replaced in the 1980s by dark green and red lines, matching the
colours of the
Bangladesh flag, and has remained so for over two
In 2010, Biman went through a rebranding exercise and unveiled a new
logo and livery, designed by Teague, which was applied to its leased
Boeing 777 and 737 aircraft. However, following change of
government, Biman was forced to revert to the original branding as the
new brand image was not endorsed by the incoming government. The
carrier has adopted a new, more modern revised version of its livery,
that was applied to the new
Boeing 777-300ERs delivered in late 2011.
The bôlaka has also given its name to the Biman headquarters, the
Balaka Bhaban (বলাকা ভবন bôlaka bhôban, Stork
Building), and a landmark sculpture in
storks is in front of Biman's former headquarters, the Biman
Bhaban in the Motijheel Commercial Area in Dhaka.
Heathrow Airport in 2014,
wearing the latest livery.
Boeing 737-800 on short final to
Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport in 2010.
As of March 2018[update], the Biman
Bangladesh Airlines fleet
included the following aircraft:
Bangladesh Airlines Fleet
On lease from EgyptAir.
Deliveries begin mid 2018.
Bombardier Dash 8
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400
On a five-year lease from Smart Aviation.
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 lands at Kuala
Lumpur International Airport in 2007.
The carrier also formerly operated the following aircraft:
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-15
McDonnell Douglas MD-80
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER
Accidents and incidents
As of November 2013[update],
Aviation Safety Network records 11
accidents/incidents for Biman
Bangladesh Airlines, with only two of
them leading to fatalities.
Total on board
Casualties or Fatalities
000000001972-10-10-000010 October 1972
Dhaka during a training flight.
000000001979-11-18-000018 November 1979
Forced landed in a field near Savar Bazar following the flameout of
000000001980-04-03-00003 April 1980
Named "City of Bayezed Bostami", lost power following takeoff from
Paya Lebar Airport, reaching an altitude of some 100 feet (30 m)
and sinking back to the runway with the landing gear retracted. The
aircraft, that was due to operate an international scheduled
Dhaka passenger service, skidded for about 2,000 feet
(610 m) before it came to rest.
000000001984-08-05-00005 August 1984
Crashed on approach to Zia International Airport, inbound from
Chittagong, some 500 metres (1,600 ft) short of the runway, after
several missed approaches amid inclement weather.[nb 2] The accident
is the worst aviation disaster to occur on Bangladeshi soil.
000000001997-12-22-000022 December 1997
While on approach to
Sylhet inbound from
Dhaka as Flight 609, the
aircraft made a belly landing on paddy fields, 5.6 kilometres
(3.5 mi) short of
Sylhet Civil Airport, in heavy fog.
000000002004-10-08-00008 October 2004
Dhaka as Flight 601, the aircraft made a long landing at
Osmani International Airport
Osmani International Airport in heavy rain and overshot the end of the
runway by 150 feet (46 m), coming to rest in a ditch 15 feet
(4.6 m) deep.
000000002005-07-01-00001 July 2005
The aircraft that was operating an international scheduled
Dhaka passenger service as Flight 48 when it ran
off the runway immediately after touchdown at Shah Amanat
International Airport amid inclement weather; following the collapse
of the starboard main undercarriage, the right-hand side engine got
separated from the wing and caught fire as the aircraft sank into the
mud. Some passengers got injuries while the aircraft was evacuated,
but all of the occupants managed to escape from it safely. An enquiry
found no failures with the aircraft and put the blame for the accident
on the incompetence of the pilot, who was fired.
000000002007-03-12-000012 March 2007
The nose gear collapsed on the takeoff run at
Airport. The aircraft came to rest at the end of the airport's sole
active runway, blocking it for more than eight hours. There were 236
people on board; only a few of them sustained minor injuries. Due to
operate an international scheduled Dubai–
Dhaka passenger service.
List of airlines of Bangladesh
Transport in Bangladesh
^ বিমান (biman) means initially a vehicle, a chariot. This
word applies also to an aircraft and to the sky. Derived terms mean
aerodrome (ঘাঁটি – together with
বিমানাঙ্গন, airfield), aviation (চলন), pilot
(চালক), airport (বন্দর) or aeronautics
(বিদ্যা), among others. Biman
Bangladesh is the exact
translation of Air Bangladesh.
^ It was also stated that the aircraft crashed beyond the runway.
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