Bangladesh’s national carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has decided to lease and buy Boeing 737-800s plus this year it is looking to lease one or two Boeing 777s.

The carrier has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing that calls for two Boeing 737-800s to be purchased and the aircraft to be delivered early in 2015, Biman managing director M.A. Momen, says from Dhaka.

The MoU for two 737-800s is included in a contract the airline formally signed yesterday for four Boeing 777-300ERs and four

Boeing 787-8s on firm order. First 777 deliveries will be in 2013 and first 787 deliveries are set for 2017.

Momen says it will take about one month before the airline signs a firm order for the two 737-800s.

Because the board has chosen 737-800s the airline is no longer talking to Airbus about getting Airbus A320s, confirms Momen.

Biman is also seeking to lease three Boeing 737-800s and wants the aircraft as soon as possible, he says.

Momen also says the airline’s board has decided the carrier should aim to resume services to New York JFK this October but to achieve that it will need to secure a lease on a long-haul aircraft.

He says the carrier is now seeking to lease a Boeing 777 and will probably end up leasing two if such aircraft become available.

The lease period will have to extend through to 2013 – the year when the airline is due to receive its first 777 on order, says Momen.

“We have asked Boeing to support us” in efforts to secure 777s on lease, he adds.

Biman suspended its New York JFK service in 2006 because it was losing money on the route and it had to ground some of its McDonnell Douglas DC-10s for maintenance.

The carrier has four DC-10s, three Airbus A310s, four Fokker F28s and one Boeing 747-200 according to Flight’s ACAS database.

The airline wants to get more A310s, says Momen, adding that the carrier has late model A310s powered by Pratt & Whitney engines and these aircraft are hard to get on lease.As for the four F28s, “two are permanently grounded” and “we are using the other two aircraft but these are not in very good condition”, says Momen.

The airline wants to phase out the F28s, says Momen, who declines to give a time-frame for this.

He says the airline has no plans to get regional jet aircraft to replace the F28s, which are mostly used for domestic services.

“We are probably moving away from domestic …and are encouraging private airlines in Bangladesh to go for domestic”, he adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news