Biman wants to diversify its fleet to avoid future risks, says outgoing MD


Photo: Biman Bangladesh Airlines website

The outgoing Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Shaful Azim, has said the state-owned carrier would like to diversify its fleet instead of depending on a single source to dodge any future risks.

"We are in negotiations with Airbus as part of a long-term plan to ensure that we are not exposed to any kind of risk … as now we're expanding the fleet, we should diversify as well,” he said.

Regarding future risks, he referred to some recent incidents involving Boring 737 max aircraft as well as probable supply chain hazard of any single source.

Azim was speaking at a view exchange meeting with Aviation and Tourism Journalists' Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB) at the Biman office on Wednesday, his last working day as the chief of the flag carrier.  

ATJFB president Tanzim Anwar moderated the meeting while General Secretary Baten Biplob gave vote of thanks.

"If we can make an excellent combination of Boeing and Airbus then Biman Bangladesh Airlines will reach a unique height in Asia or in the world," the Biman MD said.

Replying a question, Azim said the aircraft will be purchased following all policies. "There is no chance of discrepancy. It will be seen whether we are getting technical backup, or whether we are benefitted financially,” he added.

He said the Biman’s technical evaluation committee has already sent the recent Airbus proposal to the negotiation committee to deal with the European aerospace giant.

Regarding Boeing, Azim mentioned that they also received an offer from Boeing, which will be evaluated.

He said Biman’s same technical committee will now evaluate the Boeing proposal. "The same committee will review Boeing's proposal. Boeing will be reviewed after Airbus," he added.

He highlighted Biman’s advantageous position due to the competitive proposals from both Airbus and Boeing.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Boeing, not just in terms of aircraft procurement but also their technical support and credit facilities. We are working well together,” he added.

He assured that regardless of the manufacturer chosen, Biman stands to benefit as a customer.

An apparent rivalry has steepened among US-based Boeing and Europe’s Airbus over the Bangladesh’s aviation sector as the two commercial aircraft producers are vying to reach a deal with state-run Biman airlines that decided to procure craft to expand its fleet.

The tug of war between the two aviation giants continues for more than a year when the Bangladesh government decided to purchase more wide-body planes for the Biman fleet, which currently is dominated by Boeing planes.

When asked about the financial status of Biman, Azim confidently stated that Biman has been “profitable for eight out of the last ten years.”

The two years of losses included one year heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and another due to significant payment obligations.

“Despite challenges such as dollar shortages and ongoing global conflicts, we have remained profitable,” the Biman MD said.

About his tenure, Azim expressed satisfaction with his management approach.

“During my time, I never hesitated to reward deserving employees or to impose necessary disciplinary actions. I have used my authority to the fullest and believe that with effort, Biman can compete with the world’s leading airlines,” he said.

On May 26, the Ministry of Public Administration announced Jahidul Islam Bhuiyan as the new Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. In a separate announcement, Shafiul Azim was promoted to Secretary of the Election Commission.

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