Bangladesh Biman’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Shafiul Azim said that Biman’s much-desired flight to Narita, Japan, is starting on September 1, opening direct flights on the Dhaka-Japan route. Besides, he indicated that “something positive” may happen at the end of this year regarding the launch of flights to New York, United States.
He said that all the preparations for starting the Chennai flight have been completed. The Chennai flight will be added to the next winter flight schedule.
He said these things in a press conference on Sunday (May 21) at Balaka Bhavan, Biman’s head office in Kurmitola in the capital.
Shafiul Azim said, “Branding of our Narita route flights will start in June. Three flights per week will be operated. Not only Narita, but we also discussed flights from Narita to California and Sydney as per our plan. Two days ago, the Japanese team visited Dhaka. Initiatives such as our third terminal, expansion of Cox’s Bazar airport and acquisition of Airbus aircraft will further drive Biman forward.
It is known that Narita International Airport is located one and a half hours away from Tokyo, the capital of Japan. The commencement of Dhaka-Japan flights enables Japanese citizens working in Bangladesh, students of both countries and businessmen to go to Japan directly. Currently, they are going to Japan with transit flights through Malaysian, Chinese or Thai airlines.
Referring to Biman’s progress, the company’s CEO said, Airbus (based in France) has invited us to buy their aircraft. There are only a few such companies in the whole world. Boeing is our old trusted partner. We will think about it. This proves that they have confidence in our leadership. They offered because there is business potential here.
Talking about different initiatives by Biman recently, the MD said, “For the first time in the history of Biman we are going to expand flights in Europe with the help of Gulf Air through code sharing. Also, we talked about assistance to overcome the pilot crisis with Indonesia. Once the pilot crisis is over, we will be able to start operations in Chennai, India.”
“We have 8 per cent growth in Dhaka and 15 per cent growth in surrounding areas. We are in high demand on Middle East routes. Those who are there are our prime customers. We will think about how we can provide more benefits there.”
Regarding the criticism of taking extra fare for Hajj packages, he said, “Hajj packages have been announced from India-Pakistan. Airfare from Calcutta or Guwahati is at least $250 more than ours.”
Highlighting some of the recent significant activities of Biman, the managing director of Biman said, Sudanese expatriates have been brought back to the country. Biman brought back 544 Bangladeshi expatriates stuck in Sudan’s conflict via Saudi Arabia. Besides, a codeshare agreement will be signed with Gulf Air in the second week of June. Through this, mutual cooperation will be provided in passenger transport from Dhaka to Bahrain.
Shafiul Azim said that an international standard call centre will soon be launched to provide 24-hour service, seven days a week. Actions have been taken for this purpose. A portal for the travel agency has been created. Besides, online check-in, seat selection, date change etc. services have already been introduced. Biman’s Loyalty Program has been launched in a new guise. In the future, it will be further upgraded and new features will be added.
Senior officials of different departments of Biman were present during the press conference when the commencement of Dhaka-Japan flights was announced.