While international airlines are cutting down the sizes of their fleets to recoup losses in the wake of the pandemic, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is going to increase the size of its fleet.
A brand new aircraft Dash 8-400 will join the fleet of Biman on 24 November. De Havilland Canada is the manufacturer of the aircraft.
Biman is expanding its fleet at a time when the national carrier is already in trouble, having incurred huge losses since it failed to keep up flight operations due to the general holidays.
The new 74-seater small aircraft, which was ordered in 2018, will fly the regional routes, said Md Mokabbir Hossain, managing director of Biman.
He said the plane was supposed to be delivered in March this year but was delayed due to the pandemic.
Biman will be compensated for the delay in delivery.
Mokabbir said the small aircraft will operate on the Dhaka-Delhi route which will make flying cheap. Currently, a long-haul aircraft 737 operates on this route – which is costly for the carrier.
"When small-haul aircraft fly the short distance, it will save fuel and other costs," he added.
Moreover, Biman has plans to expand its operations on domestic routes as two more Dash-8 aircraft will join the fleet in February and March next year.
Currently, Biman has only two small-haul aircraft for domestic operations out of its total 18 aircraft.
Both of the two were taken on lease, but one of them was purchased in July from the lessor. Another one is still on lease.
The new inclusion of Dash 8-400 will take the number of the total fleet to 19, according to Biman.
Last year, three new Dreamliners joined the Biman fleet.
The national carrier is still operating long-haul aircraft on domestic routes due to a lack of enough small-haul planes.
As a result, Biman had long been absorbing losses from its operation. This has discouraged the authorities from increasing the number of domestic flights.
Though the number of passengers is still low even after reopening on 1 June, Biman is expanding its flights on domestic routes, gradually.
On 12 November, Biman introduced flights on the Sylhet-Cox's Bazar route.