Vol. 5 Num 698 Wed. May 17, 2006  
Front Page

US authorities admit mistake to bar Biman
Aircraft was okay to land in NY, Biman mulls legal option for compensation

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has admitted its mistake in barring Biman's New York-bound flight from entering the US airspace and Biman authorities are considering legal options to seek compensation from the FAA.

Bangladesh mission in USA quoting a State Department official confirmed that there is no restriction for Biman to operate its flights to and from New York.

According to a Biman press release, the FAA has mistakenly barred the New York bound BG-011 flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines from landing at the JFK Airport for security reasons on Sunday.

Later, the flight carrying 257 passengers landed at Montreal Airport where the Canadian authorities inspected it and they did not find any flaws in it.

Biman says the FAA has violated international civil aviation rules by not allowing its flight to land in New York, which damaged its image and caused financial loss to the national flag carrier.

A foreign ministry handout quoting the US State Department official also said the FAA's flight operation centre in Boston had failed to identify whether this particular flight was a regular scheduled flight or not.

It said the US official also expressed State Department's deep regret for sufferings of the passengers caused by the FAA's mistake.

Bangladesh Embassy in Washington is in constant contact with the State Department and the FAA to make sure the Biman flights can operate smoothly, the foreign ministry release said.

Meanwhile, Biman officials have contacted its attorney in US to examine legal competency to seek compensation from the FAA for restricting its flight from landing in New York.

The flight had left Zia International Airport at 8:20am (BST) on Saturday for New York and was scheduled to land at JFK Airport at 6:30am (BST) on Sunday.

Biman authorities on Sunday asked the Federal Aviation Authority through Bangladesh Mission in US to let them know the reasons for denying landing permission to the New York-bound flight.

In response, Director of US State Department for Southern and Middle Asia Affairs Engelken said, "This was a mistake", according to the Biman release.

Engelken said the State Department asked the FAA to explain in details for taking such a decision.

After discussion with the FAA, Engelken expressed deep sorrow to the Biman authorities through Bangladesh Mission in USA.

Deputy General Manager (Public Relations) of Biman Sayed Ahsan Hossain Kazi said Engelken also confirmed that there is no question of restricting Biman's flights to operate in the USA.