State-owned airline takes a nosedive resuming operation
Domestic flights operation of Biman Bangladesh Airlines has taken an unprecedented nosedive, while some private airlines are doing pretty good. In the first half of this month the proportion of flights operated by two private airlines combined and the public airline was 276:1 consecutively. Simultaneously, the proportion of the passengers carried by the same two private airlines and the public airline was 8,167: 12 respectively.
However, the state-owned airline operated its last flight on June 1 - the day government eased the air travel restrictions. The company is not operating regular flights anymore due to the very small number of passenger. Aviation industry experts opined the main reason why people are not choosing Biman is that its tickets are more expensive than the tickets of private airlines--US-Bangla and Novoair. The private airlines have base fares at around Tk 2,000 after the lifting of restrictions which was imposed due to Coronavirus-this base fare has been recently fixed at Tk 2,500. But Biman's base fare is around Tk 3,000.
Currently, different private airlines have been running campaigns through social media and internet-attracting customers. They are also sending text messages to people highlighting their promotional offers. Unfortunately, Biman did not launch any such campaign to get back to business after being grounded for over two months due to the pandemic. The state owned flag carrier has also stopped selling tickets through travel agents-resulting less passengers' response. Lack of diligence and efficiency among airline officials is identified as the major setback to resume full operation of the airline.
It is worth mentioning that Biman became a limited company in 2007 aiming to make profits and run independently. After a long losing trend, the state-owned flag carrier made profit for the past few years. But the ongoing health crisis is an ominous portend for resuming domestic flights of the state-owned airline. The possibility, however, the flagship airline can go back to the past losing trend once more. Incurring loss at a critical time as now will threat the airline's survival.
Even though the private airlines are doing well in the domestic flight--in this pandemic situation--they are also facing setbacks: They have to pay more than one fourth of the price of a sold ticket as the travel tax to the government. The private airlines' officials see it as a problem to improve and expand their services.
It is believed that the number of passengers will rise when the corona pandemic is over. But it is imperative to address the problem. Much of the predicament lies in mismanaged and inefficient marketing strategies of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines. In order to restore passenger confidence, the airline should reduce airfare while launching countrywide campaigns. To finish with, Biman high-ups should also follow how the aviation industry in other countries are functioning, if necessary they too should replicate similar operation strategies in Bangladesh.