The service of Biman Bangladesh Airlines is not at the expected level, said Zahid Hossain, the newly appointed managing director (MD) and CEO of the national flag carrier, adding there is room for improving the quality of service to gain customer satisfaction.
"Biman being a commercial entity, our main objective is to make profits, transform it into a profitable enterprise, and ensure the satisfaction of air passengers," he said during a press conference at Biman's headquarters on Thursday.
He said their first priority will be on improving the service quality of Biman. At the same time, Biman will go for massive business expansion by increasing flight frequency, he added.
"As our first objective is to make Biman a commercial enterprise, we will take all decisions commercially. However, as a state-owned institution, the state's commitment to the people will also be protected," the Biman MD said.
Before being appointed as the managing director in July, Zahid was serving Biman as director (operations).
This year, Biman operated Hajj flights with its own fleet of aircraft according to his plan, which helped the national carrier make good revenue.
Usually, Biman operates hajj flights taking aircraft on lease as a strong syndicate inside the carrier allegedly makes money from lease deals.
Biman earned Tk835 crore in revenue from ticket sales in this June during the Hajj flight operation even after carrying fewer pilgrims compared to previous years.
Usually, Biman carries 60,000 pilgrims during the Hajj season, but the number was 30,000 this year.
Zahid Hossain said had Biman leased aircraft for hajj flight operation, it would have to spend Tk100 crore. So, this amount was saved due to operating flights with its own aircraft.
In reply to a question about frequent changes in the MD post at Biman, he said there should be continuity for a top executive of the carrier because aviation is a very technical business and one needs some time to understand it.
At the same time, professional persons should be appointed to this post, he added.
The government removed Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal from the position of the managing director of the national flag carrier on 13 July, just 16 months after his appointment.
Soon after his appointment on 23 February 2021, Abu Saleh Mostafa, who also served as Cabinet Division's additional secretary, had been embroiled in controversy over allegations of irregularities.
During the press briefing on Thursday, Zahid Hossain said, "Some eight million Bangladeshis are now living abroad. They want to fly. We will try to make maximum use of our planes. That is our goal."
He said the responsibility for any failure of this organisation will lie with him.
He also said the national flag carrier wants to improve its annual turnover to $1 billion. Currently, Biman's annual turnover is $700 million.
The airliner will improve customer service to achieve the business target, the Biman MD added.
He said Biman will operate flights to China and the US soon.
The newly-introduced Toronto flight of Biman has already attracted regional passengers such as those from India, Zahid said.