Biman Bangladesh Airlines
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Established in 1972, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the national carrier of Bangladesh. From its main base at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Biman operates domestic passenger and cargo services as well as service to international destinations in Asia and Europe.
Location of Biman Bangladesh Airlines main hub (Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International)
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The growth of international traffic and tourism to/from Bangladesh is facing continued challenges in 2011. National flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, weighed down by a considerable debt burden. Bangladesh is also struggling to upgrade its infrastructure and tourism facilities to attract international visitors, with inbound tourism remaining flat in 2010.
The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority has developed a new organisational structure to transform its management of flight management control operations and safety and security quality standards. GCAA launched its Comprehensive Transformation Programme in 2010 and has already developed new financial and strategic plans.
International traffic to and from Bangladesh has experienced steady growth in recent years. However, due to the poor performance of domestic airlines, foreign carriers have grown to control 64% of capacity to/from Bangladesh, although the forces of protectionism could dent progress. To slow the further expansion of foreign carriers in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi Government suspended its short-term open skies trial in 2007 and now operates an essentially protective aviation policy. For those carriers that can gain access, the Bangladesh market is relatively attractive, due to reasonable economic growth rates, weaker home carriers, and the country's large population, with some 5 million Bangladeshi migrant workers abroad generating significant VFR traffic. It really is a market made for focused low cost carriers, but government strategy supports the traditional flag carrier model - and appears unlikely to change any time soon.
Bangladesh operates an essentially protective aviation policy. A less than enthusiastic short-term open skies trial in late 2007 did little to stimulate traffic and growth has subsequently been subdued. This has not prevented a range of foreign airlines being willing to enter the Bangladesh market, which is very attractive, given the large Bangladeshi diaspora of workers and wealthy professionals and its huge and concentrated local population - despite the country's chronic poverty.
In 3Q08, GMG Airlines took delivery of additional MD83 aircraft, which will be used to open up new routes to Singapore and Karachi shortly. The aircraft (number undisclosed) are on a wet lease agreement with GECAS. The airline also announced plans to begin operating Dhaka-Bangkok and Dhaka-Hong Kong services from mid Jan-09.
The Bangladesh Government is currently searching for a strategic partner to run and manage its flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It hopes to find a foreign airline to either purchase a stake in the airline, or take responsibility for its management.
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