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>8 new Boeings to add to Biman fleet

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>BIMAN Bangladesh Airlines Ltd yesterday unveiled its plan to buy eight new-generation aircraft from Boeing at a cost of $1.265 billion (Tk 8,728 crore). (Read The Daily Star report)
Of the new eight planes, the first consignment of four Boeing 777-300ER planes, with 463 passenger capacity, will be delivered in 2013 while the four 394-seater Boeing 787-8s (yet to enter service) will be handed over in 2017.
The national flag carrier will also have a facelift, a change of its interior design and exterior looks.
This is the first time Biman independently decided to buy aircraft without any political and government interference after its birth in 1972.
Biman became a public limited company in July, 2007.
The price of four Boeing 777-300ERs with General Electric engines will be about $731 million while the four Boeing 787-8s will cost about $531 million.
“Biman will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing [US aircraft maker] here on March 15 to procure the eight aircraft,” Chief Adviser’s Special Assistant for Civil Aviation Mahbub Jamil yesterday told reporters after Biman board of directors decided on the procurement Sunday during a long meeting.
“Before the arrival of the new aircraft, Biman will have four Boeing aircraft on lease to meet the aircraft shortages and Boeing will provide necessary assistance in this regard,” said Mahbub, also chairman of Biman board of directors.
Mahbub said this is the first time in Biman’s history that it decided independently to buy aircraft directly from the manufacturing company.
He hoped there will be no more mismanagement in Biman’s schedules and it will shape up to be a good company.
Of the four leased planes, the first consignment of two Boeing 777s will arrive next year and another two will arrive in 2010.
Biman currently owns three types of aircraft–four McDonnell Douglas DC10-30s, four Fokker F28s, and three Airbus A310-300s.
Production of DC10-30s and F28s ended in the 1980s due to their lack of viability in service.
Out of a total of 11 planes of Biman fleet, only four or five are operating now while the rest are grounded.
Amid aircraft shortages, Biman cut seven international routes and was forced to reduce flight frequencies on five profitable international routes like Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait. Biman’s market share became almost half it had in 1991.


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