Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to take care of the newly procured Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft named “Gangchil” for smooth operation of the national flag carrier.
“I request all concerned to take care of the aircraft so that it can fly properly spreading its wings,” she said while addressing an inaugural ceremony of Gangchil flight at the VVIP Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital.Terming the national flag carrier Bangladesh Biman as a ‘symbol of independence’, the premier called for proper maintenance of the aircrafts the airline operated.
“I want to ask those involved in running Biman to work with utmost sincerity and patriotism … You will have to work keeping in mind that Bangladesh is our country and Bangladesh Biman is our own asset,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also said that the induction of Gangchil into the Biman’s fleet is another milestone for the national flag carrier.
“It’s a day of fulfilling the dream,” she said.
The premier also directed the authorities concerned of the national flag carrier to enhance its reputation by improving the standard of passenger services.
“It is a responsibility of all involved in operating the national flag carrier to retain and enhance the reputation of Biman by improving passenger services,”Earlier, the premier commissioned ‘Gangchil’ cutting a ribbon at the VVIP Tarmac of HSIA.
After the inauguration, Sheikh Hasina boarded and inspected inside the aircraft and talked to its pilots and other crew members.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque, Chairman of Biman Board of Directors Air Marshal (retd) Muhammad Enamul Bari also spoke at the ceremony.
Managing Director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Captain Farhat Hasan Jamil delivered the welcome address.
Ministers, advisers, parliament members, chiefs of three services, dignitaries and high civil and military officials were present at the function.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller was also present at the ceremony.
Listing her government’s steps for development of the national flag carrier, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Biman is a symbol of the country’s independence.
“When Biman’s aircraft go to different countries, the people of those countries could know about Bangladesh through it. So, we have given special attention to development of Bangladesh Biman,” she said.
The premier also mentioned her government’s steps for upgrading the airports.
“When our government first assumed office in 1996, we upgraded Chattogram and Sylhet Airports into international airports,” she said.
The prime minister said work on turning Cox’s Bazar Airport into an international one has started so that planes of different airlines could come here and they can refuel.
“Cox’s Bazar has the longest sandy beach in the world. There is no such a sea beach anywhere in the globe … we’ve to focus and utilise potentials of the tourist town and we’re constructing the biggest international airport to achieve the goal,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken various measures for the development of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
“We’re also making arrangements so that Biman can operate flights in other countries apart from the existing destinations,” she said.
The premier expressed her firm optimism that the problems regarding operating Biman flights in the United States will be solved soon. “We’re making efforts to increase Biman’s flight frequencies in the UK,” she said.
Earlier, the first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, named as ‘Akash Beena’, arrived in Dhaka in August last year, while the second one known as ‘Hangsabalaka’ arrived in December last.
In 2008, Biman Bangladesh Airlines signed a US$2.1 billion agreement with Boeing to purchase 10 new aircraft.
Of those, Boeing has already delivered four 777-300ER’s and two 737-800’s and three Dreamliners to Biman.
The fourth Dreamliner ‘Rajhangsha’, the last one of the 10 new aircraft, is expected to be added to the Biman’s fleet next month.
Gangchil, a 271-seat Boeing 787-8, has been designed as 20 percent fuel efficient carrier compared to the other aircraft.
The airliner has the capacity to fly 16 hours nonstop with an average speed of 650 miles per hour.
It provides passengers with WiFi services at a height of 43,000 feet, allowing passengers to browse the Internet or connect with their friends and families at any end of the world.