i’m afraid salam dhaka gravely misunderstood my previous political rant. i was not commenting on privatization at all – rather i was talking about the development of the private sector, which, in itself, can be as separate from privatization than, well, night and day. but enough on private sector development. i have to pretend all day that i care about it, so i am in no mood to talk about it now.

however, on the issue of privatization, some aspects of bangladesh desperately need to be privatized. topping this list, of course, is biman. according to this article in the daily star, each biman flight from dhaka to new york currently incurs a loss of 35 lakh taka. that’s 50,000 in US$. twice a week. our government is pouring $100,000 a week into an aging dc-10 that may someday simply drop out of the sky. already this plane was refused permission to take off from new york a few months ago, because local engineers found 17 mechanical faults in the airline and deemed it to be too dangerous to be allowed to fly.

now, is it unreasonable to expect the authorities to shut down a route that incurs such losses? apparently. it seems to be so difficult to gain slots in new york that cancelling dhaka-new york flights would be unprofitable in the long run.



apparently it’s important to keep the existing slot, because biman caters to the 2 million ethnic bangladeshis living on the east coast of the united states and canada. well. last time i tried to get a ticket to or from the united states, biman was the most expensive economy class fare, much more so than british airways or emirates. heck, it would have been cheaper for me to fly northwest to geneva, swissair to delhi and indian air to dhaka than it would have cost for me to fly biman from new york to dhaka.

last time i actually flew biman to the united states, the plane was filled with the maximum possible amount of infants, who either screamed in unison or shat profusely along the aisles. of course, that wasn’t too bad, considering that the aisles were already flooded with their parents’ spit. and, throughout this “non-smoking” flight, all the smokers were huddled in the back smoking up a storm. the food gave me diarrhea, the water gave me nausea, and the alcohol was non-existent. all in all, a pleasant flight.

of course, it wouldn’t be an article on bangladesh without one major political party bashing the other. therefore we find that the present government has kindly saved the taxpayers $42,857 dollars per week over the past four years by cutting some of the stops, leading to a total savings of $8,914,285. however, this isn’t much, especially when you consider that, according to the measures they have taken, they will still make a loss of 17 lakh taka per week, which is $24,285. this is in addition to the $20,800,000 losses that they have already endured in their tenure. this means that, in their entire tenure, they will have lost a total of $21,431,410 on one single route.

if that isn’t a cry for help, i don’t know what is.

1 Comment

  1. I think at this point only god can save Biman. I flew Biman once too from Dhaka to NY – the toilet broke down in Brussels. Thank god though that didn’t happen half way between Brussells and NY. Now that would be one scary situation.

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