Biman’s Dreamliner deployed on Doha, Kuwait routes

Experts doubtful about the viability of business

Kamrun Nahar | Published: October 21, 2018 09:45:05 | Updated: October 22, 2018 11:45:07

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines authority has deployed Dreamliner 787 on Doha and Kuwait routes from mid-October after operating it to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur on a trial basis since September 05.

Biman has a plan to operate two Dreamliner 787 aircraft on Dhaka-London route from December instead of Boeing 777.

However, experts are doubtful about the viability of business on this route with such a high-tech aircraft that can fly for 15 hours at a stretch. Flying hour on Dhaka-London route is from nine to 10 and a half hours, they observed.

Boeing 777 has a capacity of 419 passengers while Dreamliner 271, a shart drop in the number of passengers. The number of business class seat is only 24.

The Biman authority has been saying that the load factor will be more in Dreamliners than that of Boeing-777. Fuel cost will be less as Dreamliner is 20 per cent more fuel-efficient, two more weekly flights will reduce the gap in the number of passengers and business class passengers will be the main source of income.

But experts say the airfare on Dhaka-London route has dropped significantly compared to 2011 when Boeing 777 started operation on London route.

A senior Biman official has confirmed that the fourth-generation aircraft will be operated on Doha and Kuwait routes until December 08.

The first Dreamliner will be operated on Dhaka-London and Dhaka-Dammam routes from December 10 until February 15 next year.

Biman will operate six flights a week to London and three flights to Dammam.

It will receive the second Dreamliner by the end of November. Then the two Dreamliners will be operated full time on Dhaka-London routes.

Meanwhile, Biman received the third Dash-8 from Canada-based leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) on October 02. This 74-seater aircraft, manufactured in 2008, has been brought under a five-year dry lease with an aim to use it as feeder aircraft and increase the number of domestic and regional flights including Kolkata and Yangon.

Also Biman has planned not to operate wide-body aircraft for carrying transit passengers to short distance destinations like Chattogram and Sylhet.

Talking to the FE, Biman general manager Shakil Meraj said the third Dash-8 has been deployed in Saidpur, Rajshahi, Barishal and Jashore routes. Biman has increased weekly flights to Saidpur from seven to 11, Chattogram to 14 and Sylhet to 11.

"We will use the feeder aircraft every hour to carry transit passengers of the long haul flights to save the engine cycle of wide-body aircraft," said Mr Shakil.

He said the wide-body aircraft will carry passengers to Dubai in a W-pattern manner. The flights will be operated on Sylhet-Dhaka-Dubai and then again on Dubai-Chattogram/Sylhet-Dubai.

At present, there are two Dash-8 aircraft in the Biman fleet which were procured from Smart Aviation of Egypt in 2014 under a five-year dry lease agreement. As many as five aircraft brought under the lease agreement will be sent back by 2019.

Biman has signed an agreement with Canadian Bombardier Inc. to purchase three brand new Dash-8 aircraft which are expected to be delivered by March, May and June in 2020. The Biman authority has been negotiating to take delivery of the aircraft six months before the deadline.

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