General

Biman automates cargo handling for wider services

DHAKA, Feb 4, 2017 (BSS) - Biman Bangladesh Airlines has started carrying out semi-automation of the cargo handling department as part of its effort to strengthen capacity to offer world class services and incur more profit.

To this end, the national flag carrier has collected modern equipment as well as struck deals with two global giant carriers, Etihad and Emirates airways, to offer wider cargo services.

Talking to BSS, Biman General Manager (PR) Shakil Meraj said they have taken initiatives to collect equipment involving Taka 100 crore which is expected to be visible within three months.

"Besides, 450 new staffer members have been appointed for cargo handling and passenger services," he said, adding, "The recruitment has enabled Biman to handle cargo service with full swing."

Mentioning of collecting four dual-view cargo screening machines, Meraj said: "We've also procured an explosive detection machine (EDM) for screening cargo besides using dog squad of RAB if required."

Replying to a query about surveillance on ground, he said they have installed 130 CCTVs on export-import cargo areas.

A separate cargo shed has also been set up for disposable goods, he added.

On the other hand, Biman inked agreements with Etihad Airways on June 2016 while Emirate Airways on November last year to ferry more freights.

As per the agreement, Shakil Meraj said, Etihad will freight weekly 48,500 kilograms of freight to 13 destinations of Europe, as Biman is unable to carry direct cargo due to temporary suspension by the United Kingdom (UK) on security ground. "Biman will bring cargo to Abu Dhabi from Dhaka and Etihad will ferry this to EU."

In addition, Etihad will provide weekly 30,000 kilograms off-line cargo service from Hong Kong, as Biman is now not operating Dhaka-Hong Kong flight, he said.

Moreover, Emirates Airways provides cargo services to Biman on code sharing basis to different destinations, added the Biman General Manager.

On March 8 last year, the UK imposed temporary restriction on direct freight from Dhaka. Later, the government appointed British security firm - Redline Aviation Security - to supervise the security standard and impart training to the personnel of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) for two years at Taka 73 crore.

However, Meraj said a UK team would visit HSIA in March to audit the security system. "We are expecting the temporary ban to be lifted after the audit."

Biman has made profit in the second consecutive fiscal, as it registered a profit of Taka 276 crore in fiscal 2015-16. Earlier in fiscal 2014-15, Biman had made a profit of Taka 324 crore.

In FY16, the state-run carrier has earned revenue of Taka 4,645 crore. During the period, Biman has ferried a total of 23 lakh passengers which was 20 lakh in fiscal 2014-15.

Besides, Biman has shipped 40,911 metric tons of cargo, but the figure could not be inflated due to temporary ban on direct freight to London. During the fiscal, Biman has attained 69 percent on time performance.

Biman is now running its operation with 10 wide-body and 2 narrow-body updated and advanced aircraft to 15 international and 7 domestic destinations.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)