Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to resume its flights to five domestic destinations after a pause of nearly four years.
It would operate on Cox’s Bazar, Jessore, Rajshahi, Syedpur and Barisal routes from April 6, officials said today.
Two rented Dash-8 planes will operate six flights to Cox’s Bazar, five to Jessore, three each to Rajshahi and Syedpur, and two to Barisal per week.
Chittagong and Sylhet will have 25 additional flights per week from now on.
The loss-making airlines signed an agreement with Smart Air to take on rent two Dash-8 airplanes to operate on domestic and short-distance routes.
The 74-seater turbo-propeller planes, hired on ‘dry lease’, will be with Biman for the next five years. They will join Biman fleet in March.
‘Dry lease’ is usually taken for the long term. In case of such lease, the maintenance is done by the lessee.
Biman Managing Director and CEO Kyle Haywood hoped the move would be good for business and would allow international travellers to travel to local destinations with ease.
The carrier currently has four Boeing 777-300ER, Two Airbus A310, two Boeing 777-200ER, and as many Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
It suspended operations on these domestic routes for a lack of planes. The Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar route was closed in 2011.
Biman floated international tenders five times last year to hire planes but failed to draw any response.
At present, Sylhet and Chittagong are being used as connecting routes for international flights.
Currently, four local carriers – United Airways, Regent Airways, Novo Air, and US Bangla Airlines – are operating on domestic routes.
But there are allegations of customer dissatisfactions over their services and ticket fairs.
[NB: This Feb 9, 2014 story has been used here for academic purpose.]