Boeing, Airbus Compete To Sell Planes To Bangladesh

February 26, 2008

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Boeing and Airbus are in the running to supply aircraft to Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Biman officials said on Tuesday.

They said Biman has received separate offers from Boeing and Airbus to sell the national carrier a dozen aircraft in total.

Boeing has offered to supply eight planes and Airbus four.

"We will evaluate both the offers soon and will make a decision, as we badly need aircraft to maintain flight schedules," Biman's Managing Director M. A. Moman said.

"The decision will be announced by March 15," he said without giving details.

Biman officials said Boeing had offered to supply four Boeing 777-200s and four Boeing 787s by 2013 and 2017 respectively, at an approximate average price of USD$165 million per aircraft.

They said Airbus offered to supply four aircraft from the A320, A321 and A330 models, but did not mention a timeframe.

Airbus prices would be lower than Boeing, another official said without providing details.

A shortage of funds and aircraft forced Biman to stop flights to New York, Paris, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Brussels, Yangon and Mumbai in 2006.

Loss-making Biman, which now flies to 19 international destinations with a fleet of 12 aircraft, has been facing stiff competition from four other small, local private airlines.

One of these carriers has extended its operations beyond the country to include regional routes connecting Bangladesh capital Dhaka to Kuala Lampur, Singapore, Delhi and Dubai.

At least two other airlines want to extend its flights into the South Asian region as Bangladesh and India have recently agreed to increase flight frequencies between the two countries.

(Reuters)