Biman Bangladesh Airlines earned Tk 1,404 crore from ticket sales in the first four months of this year, registering a 36 percent growth from the amount earned in same period of the previous year. According to official data, Biman earned Tk 347.36 crore in January, Tk 299.11 crore in February, Tk 385.48 crore in March and Tk 413 crore in April this year, which were Tk 283.36 crore, Tk 223.32 crore, Tk 254.17 crore and Tk 270.39 crore respectively in the corresponding months of the previous year.
According to officials, the national flag carrier has started getting benefit from several government initiatives undertaken with an aim to revamp the state-owned airlines. Civil aviation Authority Bangladesh officials claimed that due to the government initiatives to make Biman free of corruption and passenger-friendly, sales of ticket of the national flag carrier marked a sharp rise in recent months.
Secretary to Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Md Muhibul Haque said ticket selling activities of Biman was hampered for long due to the greed of a vested group of employees. This group of dishonest staff put on hold the online ticket selling in a bid to satisfy their own interest. However, Biman’s earning has increased after the ministry has taken strong initiatives to ensure transparency in the ticket selling process.
He said that immediately after being informed about the syndicate in December last, the ministry started investigation. Since then Biman’s ticket selling started to show positive growth. “Comparing to the first four months of the previous year, Biman’s ticket sales increased by 36 percent in the first four month of the current year, which is equivalent to Tk 1,444 crore”, he added.
He further said, “The online ticket selling was introduced long ago but due to backhanding of some corrupt Biman officials it had no contribution to the earning as those officials used to sale tickets by hand. This group hindered the online ticket selling process and tried to sale ticket through different travel agents at higher prices. For which reason, many tickets remained incurring huge losses to the airliner.”
A senior official of the ministry, on condition of being unnamed, said Biman used to fly with empty seats till March but from the first week of April Biman’s all tickets for London flight were being fully sold through online. ‘If the online selling process continues, it can be profitable again by June of this year’- he added.
It was learnt that last year Biman counted losses of Tk 201 crore. But this year, in the first quarter, Biman already earned profit of Tk 200 crore.
A section of officials of Biman Bangladesh Airlines has looted over taka 16 crore by selling tickets, especially on the Dhaka-London route, in the black market, sources said. In the last four years, this organised group of officials extracted Tk 20 lakh to Tk 25 lakh each day from the intending passengers through blocking available Biman tickets.