Biman Bangladesh Airlines posted a profit of Tk 272 crore in 2018-19 thanks to increasing ticket sales, for which the officials of the national flag carrier give credit to the steps taken to cut corruption. M Mahbub Ali, state minister for civil aviation, shared the information in a press briefing at the ministry’s conference room.
“The ministry in the last several months took various measures against widespread corruption in Biman especially in ticket sales and taking lease of aircraft,” Mohibul Haque, secretary to the civil aviation ministry, told The Daily Star. Due to the anti-corruption drive, Biman was able to generate a huge income in the last three months and post such a profit, Haque said.
The state minister also announced that Biman will soon spread its wings to new destinations, including Manchester, Tokyo, Madina and Guangzhou, as four new factory-made aircraft will be added to Biman’s fleet within the next year.
Biman has incurred losses in most of the years since its inception in 1972 due to widespread corruption and mismanagement, aviation experts said.
In 2007, the then military backed caretaker government turned Biman into a public limited company with an aim to make it a profitable venture, which also failed to bring any good for the airline.
Biman at present flies to 17 international and seven domestic destinations with a fleet of 15 aircraft. Six of the planes have been taken on lease. Except for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, Biman incurred losses every year since 2009-10, officials of the state-owned carrier said. In 2017-18, the amount of its loss stood at over Tk 201 crore.
A probe body of the civil aviation ministry has recently found that a syndicate is blocking online ticket sales and channelling those to the black market with the help of some unscrupulous travel agents.
Due to a lack of tickets online, passengers had to buy them from rogue travel agents at premium rates and the syndicate had been making Tk 25 lakh a day for several years, the investigation exposed.