Biman seeks aircraft proposals

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Biman Bangladesh Airlines has issued requests for proposals (RFPs) covering the acquisition of four long-haul aircraft, either Airbus A340-300s or Boeing 777-200ERs.

The long-awaited move is intended to replace the carrier's four owned McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30s on long-haul routes. Bids are due in by 10 October, and Biman says it is looking for aircraft which it can take either on normal 10-year operating leases, or on lease with purchase options.

The airline began its fleet renewal in 1996 with the acquisition of two new A310-300s from Airbus. A third, ex-Singapore Airlines, A310-300 has been acquired on wet-lease. The RFP issue, part of Biman's normal acquisition process, could result in the airline acquiring either new aircraft directly from the manufacturer or through a leasing company, or used examples.

The plan to phase out the DC-10s is seen as part of a general overhaul of Biman in connection with its forthcoming partial privatisation, due to be completed early next year. International carriers are to be offered 40% of the airline, and a further 9% stake is expected to go to staff.