Hinting at purchasing two more Boeing aircraft for Bangladesh Biman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the authorities of the national flag carrier to work with honesty and sincerity to ensure the quality of passenger services.
"Apart from the existing aircraft, three Dash Bombardier planes will be added to the Biman fleet. We have also got news that Boeing is interested to sell its two aircraft soon, the order of which was canceled by somebody else… we'll take this opportunity," she said.
The prime minister was addressing as the chief guest the induction ceremony of Biman's 4th Dreamliner, 'Rajhangsa', at the VVIP Terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) here this afternoon.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said the country's foreign currency reserve remains at a good position and there will be no problem to purchase two new Boeing aircraft.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque, Chairman of Board of Directors of Biman Air Marshal (Retd) Muhammad Enamul Bari also spoke at the induction ceremony.
Managing Director and CEO of Biman Md Mokabbir Hossain delivered the welcome address. Ministers, advisers, parliament members, 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.
Earlier, the premier formally commissioned the newly-procured state-of-the-art aircraft of the national flag carrier by cutting a ribbon at the VVIP Tarmac of HSIA.
After the inauguration, Sheikh Hasina boarded the aircraft, inspected it and talked to the pilots and the crew members.
A munajat was offered on the occasion, seeking continued peace, progress and prosperity of the nation.
About the country's current forex reserve, the prime minister said: "We calculate it because there should have such an amount deposited with which we can purchase the food for three months if the country is hit by any natural disaster."
She went on saying: "There is no need to keep additional amount of reserve money. We can utilise the additional money in development purpose."
The premier said the government will purchase two cargo planes to create more opportunities for exporting goods, including foods. "We'll also set up a cargo village so that we could export easily," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has attained self-sufficiency in food. "There is no possibility of falling into trouble … we are stocking such amount of food that is needed to face any natural calamity," she said.
The prime minister urged all concerned of Bangladesh Biman to work with utmost sincerity for raising the passenger services and maintenance of the aircraft.
"We've purchased the aircraft with our hard-earned money … so you'll have to look after their maintenance with sincerity," she said.
"Simultaneously, you'll have to raise the quality of the services and earn confidence and trust of the passengers though it … then we could transport more passengers due to our geographical position. So, I hope that all involved in Biman will work with sincerity in this regard," she said.
Highlighting her government's steps for development of air connectivity, the prime minister said Chattogram and Sylhet airports have been developed as international airports.
"We resumed the operation of the airports closed by the BNP government and we're also developing Cox's Bazar Airport as an international airport so that wide-bodied aircraft could land there," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the work on constructing the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport has begun. "It will create more work and generate more employments for the people," she added.
The prime minister said: "The Father of the Nation has given the country to us … it's now our responsibility to build the country and we'll have to work together for the welfare of the people."
Elaborating her government's tremendous successes in various fields, the prime minister said the government has increased budget five times and raised the GDP growth to 8.1 percent.
"The country is marching ahead at an irresistible pace and it has been possible as the government remains in state power for over 10 years at a stretch," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is moving keeping pace with the world and got recognition in the entire world.
"Bangladesh is now a role model of development in the world … we've been able to keep inflation at 5.3 percent alongside increasing GDP growth," she said.
The premier said the country had to face various hurdles like terrorism, militancy and arson attacks in its way to development. "Despite that, we are advancing by facing these and we want this advancement to continue," she said.
The fourth Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, the 16th aircraft of the national flag carrier, was added to the Biman's fleet on September 14. It landed at HSIA directly from the USA's Seattle's Boeing Factory in the afternoon on the day.
Biman's acting Managing Director and CEO Captain Farhat Hasan Jamil along with other high officials received the Dreamliner at the airport after welcoming it with a water cannon salute.
Earlier, the first and second Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, named as 'Akash Beena' and 'Hangsabalaka' respectively, arrived here in August and December last year, while the third one known as 'Gaangchil' landed in July last.
The prime minister named all the Dreamliners, the source said.
In 2008, Biman Bangladesh Airlines signed a US$2.1 billion agreement with Boeing to purchase 10 new aircraft.
As per the deal, Boeing has already delivered all the aircraft – four 777-300ER's, two 737-800's and four Dreamliners – to Biman.
Rajhangsha, the 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 will provide its passengers with WiFi services at a height of 43,000 feet, allowing passengers to browse the internet or connect with their friends and family from any place of the world.