Biman to lease two aircraft for hajj pilgrims

DHAKA- National flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BBA) has decided to lease two aircraft to ferry 63,500 hajj pilgrims this year.

The two leased aircraft will join BBA's own four 777-300 ER aircraft to run the hajj operation that begin on July 24, said officials.

Talking to BSS, BBA spokesperson Shakil Meraj today said, "We are

collecting the two aircraft on wet lease basis to ensure smooth ferrying of hajj pilgrims along with our four brand new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft."

Mentioning that they have already received proposals from seven carriers, he said: "The aircraft have to have at least 300 passengers' capacity each and operational age below 20."

On April 5, BBA called RFP (Request for Proposal) while last date for submission of RFP was April 20. A total of seven international carriers have submitted RFP to lease their aircraft for three months on wet lease basis.

Officials said, wet lease means all type of responsibilities -aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) -- has to be borne by the owner of the aircraft.

Replying to a query, Shakil Meraj said the proposals of the seven carriers have been forwarded to the BBA technical committee for evaluation. "After getting their recommendation, we will final the deal of lease."

This year, a total of 127,000 pilgrims would go the Saudi Arabia to perform hajj, of which Biman will carry 63,500 pilgrims and the remained by the Saudi Arabian Airlines.

"Our first pre-hajj flight is scheduled to fly to the Saudi Arabia on July 24 and it will continue till August 26 while returned flight would start on September 5 and continue till October 5," revealed the BBA spokesperson.

In last year, a total of 101,827 hajj pilgrims visited the Saudi Arabia and Biman had ferried 49,545 pilgrims.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)