Istanbul, not Manchester: Biman flip-flops on Dhaka-Toronto stopover decision

In a latest decision, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is now saying that they have again changed its earlier decision of selecting Manchester as a stopover for its ambitious Dhaka-Toronto route and is considering making Istanbul its technical landing or any other suitable destination.

Biman Managing Director and CEO Dr Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal revealed the information to The Daily Star on Monday (May 23, 2022).
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Aviation experts said Biman’s flip-flop in selecting the stopover for its much talked about Toronto route shows utter unprofessionalism, lack of efficiency, and incapability of the Biman’s high-ups to properly launch an ambitious route, like that of Toronto.

After spending Tk 4 crore in the name of “experimental commercial” flight on Dhaka-Toronto route, Biman in early April said they were conducting a feasibility study to examine commercial viability on its long awaited route.

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The airlines in late March said they have formed a four-member committee to conduct a detailed feasibility study on the restructuring and to assess the pros and cons of this ultra-long haul route.

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Biman Director (Flight Operations) Capt ABM Ismail was named chief of the committee.

On March 26, carrying around 35 officials of Civil Aviation Ministry, Biman and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, on board at a cost of around Tk 4 crore, Biman had operated its experimental direct flight on Toronto route only to understand that direct flight on this route would not be commercially viable.

Few hours before commencing that flight, Biman at a press conference had said they have assessed that the direct flight on the Toronto route would be commercially viable and that they have decided to operate the experimental commercial flight.

But two days after the flight, Biman authorities made a U-turn from their earlier statement.

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Biman’s Dhaka-Toronto flights with Manchester stopover likely from June 26

In late April, Biman MD said they have finally taken the decision to make a “technical stopover” in Manchester for refueling until the Russia-Ukraine war is over.

Now, again taking another U-turn, Biman is saying that they dropped the plan of giving a stopover in Manchester for various reasons.

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Talking to The Daily Star at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Monday, Biman MD said they have learned that, after landing in Manchester, luggage will be needed to be unloaded and then the passengers will be taken from one terminal to another for security checks. Only then, they will be able to board the connecting flight.

It would increase both time and cost, he added.