The head of Bangladesh's national carrier expects failures in the local market as privately owned airlines have been expanding too rapidly and suffering badly as a result of high fuel prices.

Biman Bangladesh chief executive MA Momen says that "we have so many airlines coming up in Bangladesh" and it is too many for the small market to handle. "I am more than sure that there will be some untimely deaths of airlines," he says, adding that this will not just be in Bangladesh but also in other parts of South Asia.

Biman DC-10
 © John Higgins/

Bangladesh's airline sector has seen major change in recent years, with privately owned GMG Airlines expanding aggressively into the international market and others, such as Best Air and ­United Airways Bangladesh, planning the same. "Going international does not automatically give you money," says Momen.

The expansion of privately owned airlines has put intense pressure on state-owned Biman, which has been forced to radically restructure its operations. Momen, who has been chief executive for two years, has overseen a major restructuring that has seen the airline's staff base reduced from around 7,000 to 3,800 as the carrier has dropped many domestic routes. It also has reduced its losses from 4.72 billion taka ($69 million) in the 2005/6 financial year to 2.72 billion taka in 2006/7 and to 980 million taka in 2007/8.

Source: Airline Business