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Considering Airbus’s offer of passenger planes seriously: Outgoing MD

Messenger Online

Published: 16:51, 29 May 2024

Considering Airbus’s offer of passenger planes seriously: Outgoing MD

Photo: Collected

Biman Bangladesh Airlines could be expanding its fleet with new aircraft from Airbus. Outgoing Managing Director and CEO of the national flag carrier, Shafiul Azim, made the indication during a views exchange meeting with the Aviation and Tourism Journalists’ Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB) on Wednesday (29 May).

The meeting, held in Dhaka, saw the participation of ATJFB members led by their president, Tanzim Anwar. Addressing the forum, the outgoing Biman MD said that Airbus had proposed two offers to Biman for aircraft procurement.

“Initially, Airbus offered us two cargo planes, but we decided we do not need them at the moment. Instead, we expressed our interest in expanding our passenger fleet. Subsequently, Airbus proposed four passenger aircraft, which was a better offer. This proposal has been evaluated by the committee and forwarded to the board for approval,” Azim explained.

He emphasized the importance of diversifying their fleet, noting that currently, 16 out of 21 large aircraft in Biman’s fleet are from Boeing. “We are considering Airbus’s offers seriously. Diversifying our aircraft will not only mitigate risk but also appeal to passengers who appreciate newer models,” Azim said.

Regarding Boeing, Azim mentioned that they also received an offer from Boeing, which will be evaluated. “We have a longstanding relationship with Boeing, not just in terms of aircraft procurement but also their technical support and credit facilities. We are working well together,” he added.

Azim highlighted Biman’s advantageous position due to the competitive proposals from both Airbus and Boeing. He assured that regardless of the manufacturer chosen, Biman stands to benefit as a customer.

When asked about the financial status of Biman, Azim confidently stated that Biman has been “profitable for eight out of the last ten years.” The two years of losses included one year heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and another due to significant payment obligations. “Despite challenges such as dollar shortages and ongoing global conflicts, we have remained profitable,” the Biman MD said.

He further defended Biman’s financial health, pointing out that regular audits have confirmed their profitability. “We continue to hire, pay salaries and bonuses, including profit bonuses. If Biman wasn’t profitable, where would this money come from? To those who doubt our success, I pray they find guidance,” he remarked.

Reflecting on his tenure, Azim expressed satisfaction with his management approach. “During my time, I never hesitated to reward deserving employees or to impose necessary disciplinary actions. I have used my authority to the fullest and believe that with effort, Biman can compete with the world’s leading airlines,” he stated.

Addressing the frequent changes in Biman’s leadership, Azim underscored the need for a stable management system. “Our human and technical resources are competent. If systems and structures are in place, the organization won’t rely on any single individual. I have focused on establishing these systems,” he noted.

He also recommended retaining experienced personnel in technical fields, regardless of age, as experience grows with time. “Biman should not function with the mindset of a government office; it is a commercial entity and should be managed commercially,” Azim advised.

He expressed a slight regret, wishing that four new aircraft could have been added to Biman’s fleet during his tenure.

On May 26, the Ministry of Public Administration announced Md. Jahidul Islam Bhuiyan as the new Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. In a separate announcement, Shafiul Azim was promoted to Secretary of the Election Commission.