But Diverted Flight May Be Least Of Carrier's Woes
It was all a mistake...
that's what the US State Department reportedly told the
national airline of Bangladesh, Biman, on Tuesday, after a weekend
incident where one of the carrier's planes was barred from landing
at New York's JFK International Airport. But an apology might not
be good enough for the beleaguered carrier.
As Aero-News reported, the
flight from Dhaka was forced to divert to Montreal Saturday morning
after the FAA refused it entry into US airspace, citing unspecified
That "was a mistake," said an unnamed director of the State
Department's bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, according
to The Daily Star in Bangladesh.
The BBC, however, reports the diverted flight -- which Biman
will reportedly seek monetary compensation from the FAA for -- may
be the least of the carrier's problems, as the cash-strapped
airline faces problems brought about by, among other things, an
aging fleet of aircraft and its failure to pay its fuel bills.
In an effort to curb its losses, Biman reported Tuesday it may
suspend long-haul flights to Europe, America, and Asia.
"We are suffering a loss of $80,000 on each flight to New York
because of operating old DC-10 aircraft," says Aviation Minister
Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Biman's situation. "We urgently need to
replace the fleet, but we don't have the funds to do so."
In fact, the US haul
flight may have only survived this long due to the efforts of the
Bangladeshi government, which reportedly viewed the loss-making
flight from Dhaka to the US as a symbol of "national prestige".
"Biman has always remained an appendage of the Civil Aviation
ministry," says an editorial in the Bangladesh newspaper, The News
Today, "with too many people competing to get their fingers in the
Another possible factor in Biman's decline? Old-fashioned graft
"[Biman's] management structure has always been mediocre, with
former Air Force personnel monopolizing the chief executive's post.
It is almost impossible to find a single senior Biman employee,
from cabin crew to middle management, who is not rolling in
wealth," according to the editorial.
The government says it is working to make Biman (which greets
visitors to its English-language website with the
awkwardly-translated "welcome to a world of homely travel
experience") a more-efficient operation.