The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its consent for Biman Bangladesh Airlines to buy three Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft for operation on both domestic and international routes .
Biman’s government-to-government purchase proposal, under Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, was approved at a meeting of the committee presided over by Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the Cabinet Division Auditorium on Wednesday.
The twin-engine, medium-range turbo-prop aeroplanes from the Dash80-Q400 series, each with 70-89 seats, are manufactured by Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier Inc.
After the meeting, Cabinet Division Additional Secretary Mostafizur Rahman told reporters the aircraft will be grounded at the international airport in Dhaka within three months of signing the contract.
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The government-to-government procurement policy for aircraft was also approved at the meeting, he added.
According to the proposal, the unit cost of a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft is $31.3 million.
Biman already has two Dash 8-Q400 aircraft in its fleet on rental basis, at a monthly cost of $168,000. The airlines took lease of the aircraft for five years from Egypt’s Smart Aviation Company in 2015.
According to the proposal, the purchase of the two aircraft will cut down Biman’s monthly costs significantly.
The procurement of the aircraft is necessary as seven others currently in service will be withdrawn from Biman’s fleet by 2022 as their leases will expire, the proposal added.
At present, Biman is operating seven domestic and two international flights – to Kolkata and Kathmandu – using the existing Dash 8 Q400 aircraft.