The Biman Bangladesh Airlines has entered a new era with the inauguration of its first Boeing 787-8, known as the Dreamliner, on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina commissioned the fifteenth aircraft in Biman's fleet during a ceremony at the VVIP Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, reports BSS.
The Prime Minister herself named the aircraft Akashbeena, a 271-seat and twin-engine jet airline, manufactured by Boeing.
The aerospace company said the aircraft has “unparalleled fuel efficiency and range flexibility” offering its passengers “an experience like none other in the air, with more comfort and less fatigue”.
In her speech during the commissioning ceremony, The Prime Minister asked the officials of national flag carrier to enhance Biman's reputation through efficiency.
Sheikh Hasina asked the Biman staff to particularly give proper attention so the foreign, local passengers and expatriates Bangladeshis could quickly complete their immigration formalities and get luggage.
She mentioned that few countries previously slapped sanctions on Shahjalal International Airport on security grounds.
"Later, they annulled the ban following improved security system of the country’s maiden aviation facility," she said.
The Prime Minister asked all concerned to give more importance to aviation and airport security issues.
“I’m hopeful, with the addition of new aircrafts to the fleet, Biman will keep on flying to new destinations and the Biman management is working towards that goal,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of a free Bangladesh looked up into the sky and dreamt of an airline of their own and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made the dream into reality.
“Biman took form within the first 19 days of our independence and the history of Biman and the freedom of our nation go hand in hand,” she said.
Later, the Prime Minister cut a cake, boarded the aircraft and visited its different sections.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal, Chairman of Biman’s Board of Director Air Marshal (retd) Muhammad Enamul Bari and Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque also spoke at the function, while Biman Managing Director and CEO AM Mosaddique Ahmed delivered the welcome address.
Officials said Biman signed a $2.1 billion deal to buy four 787 Dreamliners and six other aircraft with US plane maker Boeing in 2008.
The first Dreamliner arrived on August 19, while another is expected to arrive in November this year and the two others in September next year, Biman spokesman Shakil Meraj said.
Biman officials said the airliner could fly 16 hours nonstop with an average speed of 650 miles per hour consuming 20 percent less fuel compared to other such crafts.
It will provide its passengers with WiFi facilities at an altitude of 43,000 feet, allowing passengers to browse internet or connect with their friends and family at any end of the world, they said.
“The Dreamliner will add to the passengers’ safe journey and drive Biman’s profits,” Biman’s Managing Director and CEO AM Mosaddique Ahmed said.
He said the Dreamliner would fly to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur every day of the week, with flights to Singapore in the morning and Kuala Lumpur in the evening.
With the inclusion of Dreamliner, the national flag carrier now has 15 aircraft in its fleet.