The Financial Express

The distressing tale of Biman

| Updated: October 22, 2017 09:41:32

The distressing tale of Biman

Biman is going from bad to worse. Technical difficulty in Prime Minister's flight to Budapest shows the condition in which Biman is operating. There are plenty of allegations against Biman. It is said that there is no chain of command in the national airline, and there is no accountability. Biman's Board does not care about its supervising ministry. It's a free-wheeling affair for most people employed here.
Biman has to be changed into a full fledged company. Biman was converted into a public limited company in 2007 by the then caretaker government. Biman's Board was given the responsibility of running it. But the directors of the Board were appointed by the government including the Chairman. Civil Aviation minister did not know who were coming as directors of the Board. Biman's Board was taking all decisions bypassing the ministry..
Allegation has it that there is no transparency in senior level recruitment in Biman. Once the Managing director was appointed from outside the country. There are allegations of serious administrative mismanagement too. Those who had left Biman earlier through 'golden handshake' were brought in, for no good reason. Besides, there are controversies over many issues including leasing out about 434 bighas of land in front of the airport.
Following the disruption caused by mechanical fault of the Biman flight carrying the Prime Minister to Budapest weeks back,  three committees have been set up to probe into the alleged 'loose nut' case. One committee has submitted its report but this report did not show the reason for the erratic nut. The other two committees are yet to submit their reports.
Biman is saying that the reasons for the loose nut can not be stated until the enquiry is completed. Aeronautical engineers are reportedly of the opinion that the nuts of a brand new aircraft have no reason to turn loose, and this has no connection with the oil pressure system. Experts of Boeing Company have also expressed their surprise as loosening of the nut in question is not a maintenance item
One Biman official said that in case of any technical fault, the captain can see it on the monitor. A checklist appears on the screen which suggests  action to be taken -- whether any engine is to be shut down, whether emergency landing is needed and so on. It is to be seen if such procedures were followed.
A UK-based rating agency has termed Biman a two star airline. Biman's facilities are below standard. Costly modern aircrafts have been added to Biman fleet but the situation has not improved. Ground handling service is a big problem. During the last 18 years Biman made profit only four times. At the time of last caretaker government Biman made profit for two consecutive years. And from then on it's a pathetic narrative of repeated losses. It is alleged that Biman at present is not in position to take proper steps for running the new aircrafts for want of proper planning and management. Despite this appalling state, Biman is thinking of opening new routes! Now, who can salvage the national flag carrier?
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