Vol. 5 Num 1131 Sun. August 05, 2007  
Front Page

Phuket scraps hajj deal with Biman

Private Thai airlines Phuket Air has cancelled its agreement with Biman Bangladesh Airlines for leasing out aircraft to the national flag carrier for carrying hajj pilgrims, Biman sources said yesterday.

"They (Phuket Air) have informed us about their inability to provide aircraft for hajj flights," a Biman official told The Daily Star yesterday requesting not to be named.

"Now, Biman is looking for new airline as well as leasing company to hire aircraft for carrying hajj pilgrims and has already floated fresh tender," said the official.

"Officials of a European airlines are likely to visit Dhaka to talk about leasing out aircraft to Biman," said the source.

Communications Adviser Maj Gen (rtd) MA Matin earlier told the journalists that the government had selected Phuket Airlines for carrying the hajj pilgrims. He said that Phuket was selected out of seven airlines that participated in the tender.

A highly placed source said that the Thai airline demanded more money in advance violating the agreement between Biman and Phuket Air.

"As per the agreement, the national flag carrier had to pay 10 percent of the total money in advance but the Thai airlines was demanding 30 percent," the source said.

"Since Phuket is not financially solvent at present it demanded 30 percent of the total money in advance for D-check (aircraft maintenance check) of their aircraft," said the Biman official.

The Biman official hoped that the hajj flights would be operated in due time, which is usually a month before Eid.