Vol. 5 Num 1102 Sat. July 07, 2007  
Front Page

Retired Biman staff to float airlines

The Biman officials and employees who have retired recently under the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) are going to float a private airline.

Former managing director (MD) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury, former president of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots' Association (Bapa) Captain Nasimul Haque and some other high-profile ex-Biman officials have given their consent to be involved with the initiative, the retired Biman staffs said.

"They (the voluntarily retired Biman staffs) proposed that I join their scheme to run a private airline and I agreed," Captain Nasimul Haque told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Captain Nasim said that he is optimistic about the success of the scheme, as Muyeed Chowdhury has also consented to join it. "Biman got the taste of success under his (Muyeed) leadership," he added.

"After getting primary support from the Biman staffs retired under VRS, we will prepare forms seeking their written consent," Mohammad Sulaiman, a former union leader of Biman employees and also an initiator of the process, told The Daily Star the same day.

Some 2,162 staffs and employees of Biman Bangladesh Airlines responded to the VRS. The Biman authorities, however, accepted 1,863 applicants.

The VRS was part of the government plan to turn the national flag carrier into a public limited company (PLC) and to make it a healthy and profitable commercial venture. Those who had left under the VRS, would get Tk 10 to 40 lakh as per the rules, Biman sources said.

"After receiving consent letters from the retired staffs, we will get the idea about how much money we can collect from them for the new airline," Captain Nasimul Haque said.

"We would also go for bank loans," Sulaiman said.

Elaborating on their plan, Captain Nasim said that they would collect new generation aircraft through lease and will operate on those routes, which are profitable but kept suspended by Biman.

About the administration of their planned airline, he said that there would be no groupings and the board of directors would be the highest authority to make any decision.

"It is yet to be fixed," Captain Nasim said about the name of their planned airline. 'Biman Employees Airlines,' 'Balaka,' and 'Biman' are some of the proposed names, he added.

Sulaiman said that primarily they have planned to operate their flights on Dhaka-Dubai-London and Dhaka-Dubai-New York routes. "Instead of DC-10 aircraft, we will use Boeing-777," he added.

"Experience is our capital, we want to prove that it is possible to make profit if an airline is run in a professional manner," he further said.

Muyeed Chowdhury could not be contacted for his comments as he is abroad.