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Biman mulls big investment for ground handling at third terminal

Published : 23 Jan 2024 10:44 PM | Updated : 24 Jan 2024 09:53 AM

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines recently unveiled its latest state-of-the-art ground handling equipment. The demonstration highlights Biman’s eagerness to secure the lucrative ground handling work at HSIA amid rumours of a potential handover to a foreign company. 

Sources suggest that as the authorities concerned had hinted at the possibility of awarding the ground handling contract to a Japanese company, it intensified Biman’s efforts to position itself as the preferred choice for the critical role. 

At present, Biman provides ground handling services to all airports in the country, contributing a substantial portion—ranging from Tk 1000 crore to Tk 1200 crore—towards its overall revenue. In this situation, Biman is procuring another Tk 1000 crore worth of equipment for enhancing its ground handling services. At the same time, the national flag carrier is also increasing manpower in this department. 

Biman Managing Director who is also the CEO Shafiul Azim regarding the ground handling said, “Biman Bangladesh Airlines continuously delivers services at the airports despite numerous infrastructural challenges. The quality of services is also increasing due to the addition of contemporary equipment. Biman is actively expanding its workforce and acquiring additional equipment to enhance its capacity.” 

This strategic move aims not only to bolster operational efficiency but also to contribute to the local economy by retaining financial resources within the country through the provision of these services, he added. In 2023, Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ Ground Service Equipment (GSE) division facilitated ground handling services for approximately 57,200 flights, showcasing a significant operational scale. Presently, Biman GSE manages the ground handling for 160 flights daily, with the capacity to handle 15 flights simultaneously.

With an ambitious vision to extend ground handling services to 200 flights daily, Biman is actively expanding its GSE division. By end of 2024, the airline plans to augment its capabilities by adding over 600 skilled manpower, incorporating 376 motorized equipment, and introducing 4000 non-motorized equipment. 

But there is an opposite picture of Biman’s ground handling. After independence, Biman has solely provided ground handling services at all the airports of the country. But, at present, their ground handling service quality is bittersweet.     

As all the foreign air carriers take ground handling services from Biman, they have various complaints against it. There are allegations against them of poor quality of service, mismanagement, causing suffering to passengers and many more. As a result, authorities as well as other airlines are unhappy with the ground handling of Biman. 

In response to the prevailing dissatisfaction, a Japanese company is now likely to take over ground handling responsibility at the third terminal. 

Meanwhile, a consortium led by Japan Airport Terminal Company Limited has submitted its proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).

Japan will handle the ground handling of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport’s third terminal - there is a high-level in-principle agreement from the government. 

However, what kind of terms will be given to them, and what will be the charges, CAAB is now preparing policies in this regard.

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