Biman Bangladesh Airlines is planning to carry its passengers up to the west coast of the United States with the help of other carriers via Japan through code sharing, as the national flag carrier is set to resume its Dhaka-Narita route from 1 September, reports news agency BSS.
“We are exploring with other airlines interlinking or code sharing so that we can offer our passengers different routes beyond Japan like a 360 degree airline,” Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Shafiul Azim told newspersons at a briefing at its headquarters at Balaka Bhaban in the capital on Sunday.
He said Biman is exploring different routes to the US and Australia through code sharing to make the airlines more competitive in the market.
Code sharing is a marketing arrangement in which an airline places its designator code on a flight operated by another airline, and sells tickets for that flight. Airlines throughout the world continue to form code-share arrangements to strengthen or expand their market presence and competitive ability.
The Biman’s chief said the national flag carrier is set to start three weekly flights from Dhaka to Narita, Japan from 1 September.
An air traffic agreement has been formed between Bangladesh and Japan in this regard, where Tokyo allowed Biman Bangladesh Airlines to enjoy a fifth freedom facility in operating flights in that country.
The fifth freedom allows an airline the right to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country and from that country onward to a third country and so on.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has been engaged with the US’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for a long time to upgrade Bangladesh’s status to “category 1” so that the local carriers, including Biman Bangladesh airlines, can operate flights to different destinations in the US.
Responding to a question regarding procuring aircraft from Airbus, Biman’s MD said, the offer from Airbus proved that his airline has the potential to expand its international routes and run with commercial viability.
He said they are currently analysing the capacity of Biman to have a mixed fleet as currently the flag carrier fleet is largely dominated by the aircraft of US-based airplane manufacturer Boeing, the archrival of European Airbus.
Currently, out of 21 aircraft, Biman has 16 Boeing planes -- four 777-300 ER, four 787-8, two Boeing 787-9, six 737-800 and five Dash-8 Q400 turboprops from Canadian bombardiers.
“We will take only those steps which are beneficiary for Biman Bangladesh airlines,” he said, adding that they have also received new offers from Boeing to procure aircraft.
The CEO said they have taken all-out preparations to ensure smooth hajj flight operations this year, which started early Sunday.
The first hajj flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines left Dhaka for Saudi Arabia with 415 pilgrims in the morning.
The national flag carrier’s aircraft took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at around 3:20 am.
Besides, four more flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines were scheduled to leave Dhaka for Jeddah with Hajj pilgrims at different times on the day.
This year, a total of 122,221 pilgrims from Bangladesh are going to perform hajj.
Of them, some 61,111 will fly by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and the rest either by Saudia or Flynas.