Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd Wednesday sealed the deal with US plane-maker Boeing to procure 10 new aircraft--four 777-300ERs (Extended Range), four 787-8 Dreamliners and two 737-800s--at a cost of Tk 17,250 crore ($2.5 billion).
The deal, signed at the US Department of Commerce, Washington DC, also included Biman's purchase rights to six more planes--two 777-300ERs, two 787-8s and two 737-800s.
Biman signed a deal with Boeing earlier to buy the 777-300ERs and the 787-8s. In the final deal Wednesday, Biman added the two 737-800s with the option to buy two more.
Mahbub Jamil, special assistant to the chief adviser and chairman of the Biman Board of Directors, and MA Momen, managing director and CEO of Biman, signed the agreement on behalf of Biman while Senior Vice-president (Sales) Marty Bentrott signed the agreement on behalf of Boeing.
Speaking as the special guest of the deal-singing ceremony, Congressman James McDermott called for an end to unfair duty treatment on products from Least Developed Countries (LDC) like Bangladesh.
He congratulated Bangladesh on the historic deal. McDermott sponsored a bill in the US Congress proposing duty-free access of products from LDCs to the US market.
This is the first time Biman is buying aircraft without any political or government interference since its birth in 1972. Biman became a public limited company in July last year.
Mahbub Jamil termed the deal a new era in the aviation history of Bangladesh and hoped that it would work as a strong pillar of friendship between Bangladesh and the US.
Donald Camp, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Department of State, termed the deal an evidence of potential of the growing economy of Bangladesh. He said this deal would go a long way to further strengthen commercial relations between the two countries.
He said, "People of Bangladesh look forward to the forthcoming general elections by December 2008, where 80 million Bangladeshi citizens are expected to exercise their franchise in order to install a new democratic government."
Describing the 787s as "composite dream machines" and terming the deal the re-birth of Bangladesh Biman, MA Momen said the deal with Boeing is a milestone in the history of Biman.
The ceremony was attended by a good number of business people from the US and Bangladesh, congressional aides, high officials from the departments of State, Commerce, Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, US Trade and Development Agency, and a cross-section of Bangladeshi expatriates.
Biman on April 22 signed a deal with Boeing to procure eight new aircraft--four 777-300ERs and four 787-8s--at a cost of Tk 8,728 crore ($1.26 billion). The deal included an option on purchasing four more planes--two 777-300ERs and two 787-8s.
The same day the national flag carrier also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Boeing on buying two 737-800s. The MoU also had the option on purchasing two more 737-800s.