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Biman to take Eagle Express aircraft on lease for hajj flights
Eagle Express

Biman to take Eagle Express aircraft on lease for hajj flights

Dhaka – Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to take a wide-bodied aircraft from Malaysian Eagle Express on wet lease for carrying pilgrims to Saudi Arabia smoothly during the upcoming hajj.
“It’s a 747-400 and its seat capacity is 450. A Biman team has already inspected the aircraft and returned home,” a Biman senior official said.

The official, who preferred not to be named, mentioned that the Board in principle agreed to take a wide-bodied aircraft on lease or carrying the hajj pilgrims and the Biman authorities will now invite the Eagle Express authority to sit for negotiations. Earlier, three airliners offered Biman to provide aircraft under wet lease system and of them Biman evaluation committee has chosen the Malaysian one.
A total of 101,758 pilgrims will perform hajj this year. Biman Bangladesh Airlines will carry a total of 52,046 hajj pilgrims while the Saudi Arabian Airlines will carry the remaining ones.
The government has announced the schedule for hajj flights this year with the first pre-hajj flight set for taking off from Dhaka on August 4.
The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has approved 112 dedicated pre-hajj flights and 32 scheduled flights for Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It has also approved 105 dedicated post-hajj flights and 29 scheduled flights for Biman Bangladesh airlines.
Another Biman official involved in corporate planning told the news agency, also on condition of anonymity, that the national flag carrier wants to operate the hajj flights in a smooth manner and for that it has decided to take the aircraft on lease.
“We can operate the hajj flights with our own aircraft, but for that we have to suspend some of our existing routes during the hajj,” he said, responding to a question why Biman is taking aircraft on lease where it has a good number of wide-bodied aircraft of its own.
Currently, Biman has four Boeing 777-300 ERs, two Boeing 777-200 ERs,two Airbus A310-300s, four Boeing 737-800s and two Dash-8 in its fleet.