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Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Airlines owe CAAB Taka 17 billion (The New Nation (Bangladesh))

by September 1, 2015 Aviation

Believe it or not, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has fallen into a great difficulty in respect of recovering outstanding dues of Bangladeshi airlines. According to CAAB sources, foreign airlines regularly pay charges and do not have any dues.

Same is the case with two local airlines like US BANGLA airlines and NOVO AIR. Like foreign airlines operating air services to and from Bangladesh these two airlines too do not have any outstanding dues to be paid to CAAB. Bangladesh’s public sector Biman Bangladesh Airlines Limited, private sector United Airways Limited and Regent Airways owe billions of TAKA worth of outstanding dues to be paid to CAAB.

Up to April 2015, Biman Bangladesh Airlines owed to CAAB more than TAKA 15.29 billion. Biman owes this huge amount of money as charges for using six airports of the country, including Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Besides, United Airways’ dues are more than TAKA 1.04 billion. This airline has used eight airports of the country. Regent Airways owes CAAB more than TAKA 270 million.

This airline has used five airports of the country. There are allegations that Biman does not pay heed to CAAB’S letter. Besides, Biman officials do not attend emergency meetings of CAAB despite their being invited. There are allegations against United Airways too. It is alleged that because of interference and recommendations of Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister, CAAB is unable to take any stern action against United Airways.

From the idea of not giving away business to foreign airlines defaulting Bangladeshi airlines, are given opportunities showing leniency in respect of realizing dues. Following pressure in a meeting in the Civil Aviation ministry United Airways cleared some dues of CAAB. But as per decision of the ministry, it is not clearing dues at the rate of TAKA thirty million and two hundred thousand per month.

Similarly, speaking of financial constraint, Regent Airways too is not clearing dues of CAAB. Because of a policy rule when dues are not paid in scheduled time a surcharge of six per cent is imposed and this is why there have been huge outstanding dues against three Bangladeshi airlines including public sector Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Since being made into a public limited company in 2007, Biman has not cleared dues for the last seven to eight years. Because of this, Biman’s dues of surcharge have almost doubled.

When Biman owes CAAB TAKA 5.73 million actually, its surcharge dues have amounted to TAKA 9.55 billion. Since foreign airlines operating air services to and from Bangladesh use one or two airports it becomes easy for them to clear dues payable to CAAB. But unlike them, Bangladeshi airlines have to use several airports of domestic routes in the country and thus they have to pay much more charges to CAAB.

Since Bangladeshi airlines like US-BANGLA and NOVO AIR clear their dues on time they should be encouraged through governmental incentives so that they can operate services in the international rotes to retain air service business, civil aviation experts believe. In fact, if capable local airlines are given governmental incentives, they will ultimately yield good results for the country through retention of air service business, they say.

It is worth mentioning here that before being defunct after operating air services in the domestic and international routes for a long time, Bangladeshi GMG airline owed CAAB more than TAKA 1.50 billion. NOVOAIR, US-BANGLA regular in clearing CAAB dues Starting air services in the domestic routes of Bangladesh in January 2013, NOVOAIR has continued to clear CAAB dues regularly. At the moment this airlines operates flight services from Dhaka to Jessore, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet and back.

In its fleet NOVOAIR has three 49-seated Brazil made Embraer aircraft. To operate air services, the airline has a workforce of 400 plus employees at the moment. Starting air services in the domestic routes of Bangladesh US-BANGLA airlines has emerged to be the most successful airline in Bangladesh. It operates flight services from Dhaka to all the domestic destinations-Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Barisal, Sylhet, Jessore, Saidpur, Rajshahi and back. This airline is very regular in respect of clearing dues of CAAB.

At the moment US-BANGLA airline has two 76-seated and one 78-seated Canadian manufacturer Bombardier made DASH-8Q-400 aircraft in its fleet. “CAAB has given us permission to operate flight services in the international routes to operate flight services in the international routes.

We got permision to operate flight services on the seventh of July and accordingly we are planning to operate services in the regional routes like Kolkata, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur first” said an official of US-BANGLA airline while talking to this correspondent on August 13 (Thursday) last. About workforce he said “At the moment we have around 600 employees in the payroll.