The National flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has rescinded its plans to launch a direct flight on the Dhaka-Toronto route given that it did not prove to be commercially viable.
The direct Dhaka-Toronto flight was first launched on a trial basis on the night of March 26 when it left for Toronto from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka. The return flight was scheduled for the 29th of March.
After successfully conducting the first trial for the direct flight on the Dhaka-Toronto route, the airlines’ officials after some discussion came to the decision that it was not commercially viable to operate the flight.
The ticket prices for a round trip on the experimental flight came up to be Tk 1,20,647 in Economy class, Tk 1,83,530 in premium economy class and Tk 2,68,547 in business class.
Some inside sources from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport have reported that flights to Canada are being operated by Turkish, Qatar and Emirates airlines with a stopover at a cheaper price than Biman.
Observing this, an Aviation expert ATM Nazrul Islam put forth the speculation that will the regular passengers lean towards Biman over other airlines and pay an extra $300 for a seat in the premium economy class?
The managing director and CEO of Biman Bangladesh, Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, had stated, “We are observing the situation. It seems like it would not be viable to run direct flights.”
In spite of having 298 seats in the aircraft, it can only carry 120 to 130 passengers on the direct flight between Dhaka and Toronto given the fuel and luggage capacity, says Abu Saleh.
He also said, “Because of the stopover, we will be able to refuel the aircraft and get extra passengers from that destination. It will make the route commercially viable,”
The refuelling and extra passengers will allow them to reduce the Toronto flight fare to make them more cost-effective so that they can compete with other international airlines.
Director of corporate planning and training of Biman, Mahbub Jahan Khan had stated that it would cost Tk 4 crore to operate the direct flight, at a press conference held hours before the flight.
The result of the trial later prompted a committee to be formed under Biman to select a commercially suitable stopover destination for the national flag carrier.