After years of inefficiency, corruption and politicisation of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, a top-ranking minister has finally put his foot down, declaring that if the airline continues in this manner, government financing will be stopped and it will be shut down. We thank the finance minister for taking a stand that should have been taken a long time ago.
Delays on a regular basis, unannounced cancellations, mechanical defects and poor service all characterise the state of our national flag carrier. So much so, that only the extremely patriotic -- but more often those with no other option -- fly Biman, and neither are they rewarded for their sentiments. This has resulted in huge losses in the last several years, with a loss of Tk. 208 crore last year alone.
In all fairness, Biman has never been given a chance. It has always been highly politicised, starting from the appointment of its chairman based not on competence but on political considerations, which is clearly reflected in the performance of the organisation. Without a restructuring of its top-heavy corporate structure and weeding out of inefficiency and corruption throughout the organisation, things will not change. Biman must be given the autonomy to perform at its best and compete with local and international airlines.
Air travel is now more lucrative than ever before, but whereas major airlines are increasing their flights to and from Dhaka to once or even twice daily, Biman's own flights are being cancelled one after the other. A one-member committee has been appointed to investigate the recent schedule chaos, but we would urge the authorities to take immediate measures -- drastic, if necessary -- towards a complete overhaul of the national carrier towards making it more efficient in terms of both performance and services. It is the only way to rescue it from its mess in the air.