Despite addition of four wide-bodied Boeing aircraft to its fleet, the national flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, is yet to maintain punctuality to operate flights, resulting in harassment of passengers.
The Biman authorities very often delay operating flights and even cancel flights in many cases for paucity of aircraft, ultimately tarnishing the image of the operator.
They earlier said addition of new Boeing planes would help maintain punctuality since those would not break down halfway. But as of August 14, Biman’s punctuality stood at just over 71% which meant that around 29 of the 100 flights were delayed.
According to the statement placed at yesterday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Civil Aviation Ministry, Biman had improved its average punctuality to 71.1% this year while its average punctuality was 66.1% in six months from July to December last year.
On September 4 this year, a Dhaka-Kathmandu flight was delayed by five hours; on August 25, 2009, the passengers also staged protests for a three-hour delay of a flight to Abu Dhabi.
“Yes, they are yet to ensure cent percent punctuality. We have told them to improve it as soon as possible to retain people’s trust and make it a reliable airline,” Col (retd) Faruk Khan, the chairman of the standing committee, told the Dhaka Tribune after the meeting at the parliament building. “They are trying to maintain punctuality,” he added.
Between 2011 and March this year, four Boeing aircraft joined the Biman fleet. The number of aircraft now stands at 10. The statement showed that Biman’s punctuality record was inconsistent and it slumped to 60.3% in August against 63.4% in January this year.
In February this year, it achieved the highest 87.1% punctuality since July 2013. In March 2014, 79.1% flights were delayed. It dropped to 71.6% in April, followed by 74.3% in May. In June and July, the punctuality rates were 62% and 75.9% respectively.
Biman operates flights in 22 international destinations, most of which are loss-making. The national flag carrier incurred a loss of Tk594 crore in 2011-12 fiscal year and Tk191 crore in 2012-13 financial year. The statement for 2013-14 fiscal year has not been made public yet.