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Friday, August 29, 2014

Monday, November 5, 2012
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Undisclosed luggage bogs Biman down

Unscrupulous staff minting money at expense of the airline

A section of Biman employees are helping transport tonnes of undisclosed cargo and luggage on Biman's international flights to make a quick buck, putting the aircraft's safety at risk.

A pilot of the national carrier told The Daily Star that before take-off, pilots are provided with information about the weight the aircraft is carrying. And according to that information, the pilots determine the take-off speed and make other calculations such as how much fuel is needed.

If pilots are given incorrect weight figures, it may render their calculations way off the mark and even force them to make unscheduled stops for refuelling, said the pilot.

Excess weight costs extra fuel for each flight, and pilots on several occasions had to consider emergency landing so that the aircraft doesn't run out of fuel.

A top official of Biman Bangladesh Airlines said pilots many times conveyed to the authorities their concern over the undisclosed weight on flights.

A few months ago, a pilot of a DC-10 aircraft told a meeting that he had faced a near-crash situation.

"It was supposed to take six minutes to climb to cruising altitude after take-off but it took me around 12 minutes due to the hidden weight," said a Biman official, quoting a pilot, who spoke at such a meeting.

In the first week of August, a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on a London-Dhaka flight had to carry an undisclosed weight of around 5,000 kg.

A Biman source said the captain of that flight informed the authorities that 3,800 kilograms of extra fuel had to be used owing to either undeclared luggage or cargo.

Referring to the pilot's complaint, the source said that had the pilot not taken on extra fuel as precaution before take-off, he would have to make an unscheduled stop for refuelling.

Extra fuel means higher operation costs.

Wishing anonymity, a top Biman official said the national flag carrier would have made profits had it been able to stop such practices.

"We incurred a loss of Tk 195 crore last year but had we stopped this illegal practice of carrying extra luggage and cargo, we would have earned more than Tk 200 crore additionally every year."

For example, Biman would be deprived of around Tk 30 lakh a flight if staff at its UK station loaded 5,000 kg of undisclosed cargo, said the official.

Moreover, Biman would have had to count the cost of additional fuel -- Tk 3.67 lakh per flight taking the jet fuel price at Tk 87 a kg.

The official said Biman allows passengers on its Dhaka-London route 30 kg of luggage and charges 28 British pounds (GBP) for each kg of extra baggage. It charges 1.09 GBP for each kg of cargo while cargo agents charge 4.5 GBP from customers.

Biman sources said officials allow carrying cargo on cash payments. In many cases, cargo officials give customers fake receipts and pocket a major portion instead of depositing those with the Biman's account.

An official said such corruption could be stopped if the authorities collected the charges for carrying cargo through banks. And a booth for banks could be opened at the Cargo Village at airports to facilitate customers.

Biman sources said this corrupt practice had been going on unabated at almost 18 foreign stations of Biman.

Wishing anonymity, a top Biman official said a section of influential people also play a part in it.

The official said influential people, including political leaders, compelled Biman staff to accept extra luggage. The total amount of such extra luggage is more than that the unscrupulous employees allow in exchange for money.

Acting Biman managing director AM Mosaddique Ahmed claimed that there had been only one or two incidents of carrying undisclosed cargo and luggage.

"We are identifying those responsible, and taking punitive action against them."

The punishment for such corruption is suspension, transfer or demotion, Biman sources said.

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Biman is loosing its ground in all respects. So it should be closed and our national carrier will be operated by public private partnership program.

: Sengupta, Canada

Without strict measures against any corruption such occurrences will repeat frequently.

: suahmed

Comments

  • barkat
    Monday, November 5, 2012 03:09 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Make Biman a private enterprise and it will give quality service, efficient timing and even make profit.

  • Steve
    Monday, November 5, 2012 06:19 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    I think Biman doesn't calculate the weights appropriately. I traveled via most successful airlines of Asia. Those services are doing much better in setting the calculations properly for managing passengers' luggage.

  • Shabbir A Bashar
    Monday, November 5, 2012 07:11 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Come on now ... Loading undisclosed baggage is a security risk to the passengers.

  • A Bangali
    Monday, November 5, 2012 07:19 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Biman is a state enterprise. It has been suffering losses since its establishment.

  • Syed Imtiaz Ali
    Monday, November 5, 2012 08:57 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Some suggestions to rescue Biman: Biman is over-loaded by incompetent and insincere employees. Before any disaster happens due to so many unprofessional reasons, Biman should be dissolved and a PPP regime should be put in place. What is baffling is there is no exemplary punishment handed out to the errant employees including the senior most who are aware of such corruption! Clearly govt. is not paying attention to run Biman with commercial ends and competitive way.

  • hasan Mamun
    Monday, November 5, 2012 07:45 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    All the public sectors except defense and health should be privatized.


  • Monday, November 5, 2012 08:23 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Need to take the punitive actions immediately to save innocent people.

  • nazmul
    Monday, November 5, 2012 12:58 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    All parts of Biman are connected with such activities. None of them own our national flag carrying airlines. This is very important from the end of government whether they will patronize such situation sitting their party minded people at top chair or not.

  • The Truth
    Monday, November 5, 2012 12:36 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The culprits play with the lives of Bangladesh Biman passengers and authority talks about such leniant punishments (e.g. suspension, transfer or demotion), this is simply ridiculous. They should be treated as criminals. All concerned authority must be held accountable for their failure to stop such activities and throwing passenger lives at risk.

  • Iftikhar-ul-Awwal
    Monday, November 5, 2012 12:36 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Biman Bangladesh Airlines has long been a floating carcass, and has lived past its utility. There is no dishonesty with which Biman employees are not adroit in. This perennially sick and ailing enterprise with multiple vested interest groups operating within is an uneasy load on our exchequer. Thank God, we had so far escaped major fatalities and we should take early measures to off load at least 49 per cent of its share to foreign companies, if they agree to work with such a sloppy business partner.

  • Translucent
    Monday, November 5, 2012 01:11 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Clearly, the govt has failed to provide adequate management for the national carrier. Therefore, it should either divest or sell the franchise to an overseas reputable company.


 

 


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