It seems that Biman Bangladesh Airlines is weighed down by all kinds of irregularities ranging from sexual assault to financial corruption, which has caused a huge loss of reputation for the national flag carrier.
Just a few months after the removal of its top official over corruption allegations, a senior pilot was suspended over sexual assault.
The national carrier has suspended its pilot Captain Ishrat Ahmed over the allegation of sexual assault on a female cabin crew member during flight operation.
The decision was taken on Thursday after getting primary evidence, confirmed Biman sources.
Ishrat was one of Biman's senior pilots. He was suspended a couple of months before his retirement.
An inquiry committee was formed recently after getting a written complaint from a female crew member about sexual harassment by this pilot.
After finding evidence of misconduct, Biman lodged a departmental case against the accused pilot.
Ishrat could not be contacted over the phone, and he did not even reply to text messages on the issue.
Not only Ishrat, some other pilots are also likely to come under fire soon for various allegations including addiction and negligence in flight operations that caused accidents, according to Biman.
Ishrat's case reveals how severe the problem of sexual harassment is in Biman, because many other cabin crew members have now spoken out on the issue.
Ishrat had frequently harassed his female crew during his long career, but it was never addressed. When a complaint was filed against him, some other female crew members made allegations about sexual harassment against some more pilots, said Biman sources.
Former acting managing director and also running director of flight operations, Captain Farhat Hasan Jamil has been suspended for several months for alleged involvement in corruption in pilot recruitment.
In May this year, AM Masaddique Ahmed, was removed from the post of managing director over the same allegation.
After getting evidence, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in November filed cases against Mosaddique, Jamil, incumbent Principal of Bangladesh Airlines Training Centre Partha Kumar Pandit, and Manager (recruitment) Fakhrul Hossain Chowdhury.
The lease of two aircraft from EgyptAir was another blunder that caused a loss of Tk1,200 crore for Biman.
Biman took action against two officials by terminating its contract with Group Capt Sazzadur Rahim (retd), director of engineering and material management, and suspending Ghazi Mahmud Iqbal, chief engineer of engineering services.
Another investigation has been going on over irregularities in the lease process.
Biman leased the two aircraft from EgyptAir in 2014 for five years, but it could put them to use for only one year. Both aircraft had been kept grounded since 2018, and were returned this year.