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GMG Bangladesh Starting First Ever Int'l Svs Sep 8  
User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Posted (10 years 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2108 times:
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GMG Airlines, the only private carrier to survive in Bangladesh is to commence its first international service to Kolkata (Calcutta / CCU) on September 8 using Dash 8 aircraft on a 3x weekly basis from Chittagong (CGP), the second largest city in Bangladesh.


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Photo © Wasim Choudhury



This marks the first time a private Bangladeshi passenger carrier will fly internationally. GMG Airlines has been flying on domestic routes since April 1998. They fly from Dhaka (DAC) to Chittagong, Sylhet (ZYL), Jessore (JSR), Barisal(BZL) and Cox's Bazar (CXB) (with a stop in Chittagong).

In Jan 2004, the government of Bangladesh gave GMG the rights to fly from Dhaka to Chennai (MAA), Colombo (CMB) and from Chittagong to Chiang Mai (CNX). Unfortunately, most of these routes GMG deemed most of these routes to be not profitable. After some intense negotiations, in July the government finally allowed GMG to fly to CCU , but only from CGP.

The service will be with GMG’s Dash-8. It has 2 Dash 8-100s and one Dash 8-300.

GMG is hoping that current negotiations between the Bangladeshi and Indian government will lead to the opening up of routes between India and Bangladesh, much like what has happened between India and Sri Lanka. The airline hopes to start DAC-CCU, DAC-Delhi (DEL) soon, and also to Kathmandu (KTM) soon. On the long term, the airline would like to fly to the Middle East as well.


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Photo © Wasim Choudhury



Incidentally, Chittagong Airport was renovated with a loan from the Japanese Overseas Development fund. The total cost was US$100 million. However, for the first two years, the airport was highly under-utilized and thus far the airport’s revenue’s have fallen far short of operating costs, not to mention interest accrued on the loan. This plight may be partly due to the government’s refusal to give rights to the Middle East to most carriers; hence the airport is handicapped from attracting additional traffic. However, in perhaps a sign of change or that of clever positioning, Phuket Airlines managed to secure three flights a week from Chittagong to Dubai (DXB).

Two foreign airlines have already pulled out of Chittagong: Indian Airlines (with 2 flights to CCU) and Silk Air (with two flights to Singapore (SIN)). Phuket suspended service for some time, but now have returned. Thai Airways has had consistent service and even upgraded this spring from a Boeing 737-400 to an Airbus A300-600. In May, Thai also won the contract to run Chittagong Airport. In May of 2004, Thai Airways also won a bid to operate the airport for 10 years. Hopefully, under the management of the airline, the airport can secure a more profitable future.

As for GMG, it marks yet another milestone for a carrier that has had to fight off in a very unbalanced playing field. We can only hope it will succeed internationally as it has in the domestic market.

Best regards,

Wasim / Planemannyc


[Edited 2004-09-01 04:37:00]

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 1959 times:
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http://www.newagebd.com/busi.html#4

Seems like Chittagong is proving to be a profitable station for Phuket Airlines. It now wants to operate from Chittagong to Jeddah in addition to Chittagong to Dubai as stated above.

Poor GMG, they only get to fly to Kolkata (Calcutta / CCU)

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1936 times:

CGP to CCU on a prop? That should take like 2 hours!!

What happened to the Fokkers? The -100's i mean!  Laugh out loud

Why doesnt GMG/Biman launch ops to GAU and IXA? IXA would be like a 30 min flight and be a cheaper way to get to the NE.

-Roy


User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1898 times:
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Hi Roy,

I think GMG is playing it safe -- just in case it does not get any further rights (which is possible given how the Bangladeshi government has been). As you probably know, GMG has been talking about getting a Fokker 100 for it's immediate needs. But I think they are also wondering that if things pick up and the F100 is not the right a/c. Say they get rights to DXB or AUH or KWI -- an F100 is not going to help, and bringing in a third type would be very costly.

I have always been an advocate of opening up DAC/CGP to the NE states. It still amazes me how difficult it is to get access to the NE from Bangladesh although those states are closer geographically to Bangladesh. Did you hear about the unexpectedly low number of passengers on Agartala-Dhaka bus? Well turns out the Bangladeshi government has been giving only single entry visa to passengers -- while most passengers who would want to go from Agartala to Dhaka would be transiting on their way to Kolkata. So, instead of making itself a transit point, the government was actually hampering the efforts to make Agartala-Dhaka service a success.

Opportunity is there, but the government has decided to sleep on it. Only in South Asia!

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlineNetdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1870 times:

Good news for GMG. Fact to the matter is, Bangladesh govt. has been trying to improve bilateral relations with far eastern countries for a while. Last year Thai Prime minister visited BD few times and after that Thai and Phuket air got permission to fly to Chittagong. There is nothing wrong with that, but a local airline GMG has been denied the same rights for years, as you mentioned. Of course Thai and Phuket Air are much more resourceful than GMG. So, I am not sure whether GMG will be able to secure financing for fleet expansion in the event that they do get flying rights to the Middle Eastern destinations.

First of all, I would like to say CGP looks far better than DAC. Second of all, the decision to handover CGP to Thai Air for 10 years has caused some political issues. Chittagong mayor Mohi Udding has launched a political movement to force the govt. to reverse its decision. The mayor’s position is that handing over CGP to foreign airlines will compromise the country’s internal securing because of the defense installations in the close vicinity of CGP. So, I wonder whether Thai Air will be able to operate CGP for the full term, especially if Awami League manage to come to power in next election. I say this because politicians are quite powerful when it comes to driving public sentiments in BD. We all know what Mohi Uddin did to stop SSS from building a port in Chittagong.

In any case, I hope GMG is successful, as their success means the success of BD.



User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1829 times:
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The control -- and controversy -- of the Thai contract is so typical of Bangladesh. The country is so polarized. I wonder how any foreign investor puts its money in the country.

Let's hope GMG does well. It would be great to see them on other routes as well. The private model obviously can work well in BD -- Jet and Sahara prove it.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlineNetdhaka From Bangladesh, joined Feb 2004, 183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1820 times:

You know, internal security issue sells very well among the govt. policy makers in BD. Back when Ershad was in power, we got invitation to join the submarine cable that went under the Bay of Bengal for free. At that time the offer was rejected by the govt. citing internal security concerns. Now we are doing that at a cost of $100 million.

The difference between the developed countries and us is that developed countries learn from their mistakes and try their best not to repeat them whereas we don’t seem to learn from our mistakes.

Anyway, hopefully I will get a chance to fly GMG soon although my mother tells me that they are more expensive than Biman. I don’t know if their service is worth the extra money.



User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1805 times:
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One can only learn if we are truly dedicated to the country. Most policymakers in BD are more dedicated to their pockets and party then to the country.

Depending on your needs, GMG is well worth the money. They fly on regular schedules, and are almost always on time -- and if they are late, you will always find an agent who informs you of the delay. With BG, your flight may leave or may not. If they don't, you won't get an answer from anyone. I guess customer service is not in the vocabulary of Biman.

GMG does face an uphill battle. As you mentioned, the political parties do get in the way, and GMG is generally seen to be supportive of the Awami League, and therefore, don't get too many favors from BNP -- including traffic rights. Looking from that perspective, they are lucky to even get the CGP-CCU rights.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc



User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 32
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1767 times:

GMG flying into CXB? Didn't they stop this route some times ago?
There are only BG flihts loaded into CXB at the moment.

Another thing is, that I'm asking my self, how much GMG calculates into their Business plan for bribing the government for being able to operate all those flights. I didn't say anything bad, did I?



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1724 times:
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Hi Gabe,

You are absolutely right. GMG did fly to CXB in 1999 then suspended it and re-started again in Nov 2002 and again suspended it. BG is the only one in the DAC-CGP-CXB route -- 4 times a week.

Well, I hear from some folks back home that the some influential party in the govt has asked the airline some obscene amount of takas (dollars) that have a lot of zeros for the DAC-CCU route. I guess GMG is looking for financing for that bribe...until then, no flights!

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlinePrm1fan From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1699 times:


Does anybody know when S2-AAA re entered service after it's accident? Thanks


User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1683 times:
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S2-AAA? Sorry, prm1fan...don't know what that a/c is. If the governments of Bangladesh assigned numbers sequentially, I would guess that would have been a DC-3 -- but have no way to confirm...and the DC-3 is long gone (as should the DC-10s and F-28s in Biman's fleet).

What type of a/c is the AAA? And what accident was it?

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 32
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days ago) and read 1658 times:

Well, one of GMG's Dash 8 is indeed registered as S2-AAA. Same goes for here, I'm sure that was not free of charge to get that registration. Another thing I don't understand why the other two aircrafts are registered as S2-ADJ and S2-ACT. One reason would be, that S2-AAA is owned by the Dhaka Bank and leased to GMG.

I don't know about any accident of S2-AAA yet.



Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 week 6 days ago) and read 1653 times:
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Yes, Gabe, it is strange how the aircraft are numbered.

What I do know is that the first two aircraft GMG received were leased directly from Bombardier. I believe they have been returned and new leased aircaft (through CIT, if I am not mistaken) have been brought in. But the order which they are assigned seems to be anybody's guess.

Best,

Planemannyc / Wasim


User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1613 times:
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http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/08/25/d40825050349.htm

As an update, perhaps finally air travel between India and Bangladesh will open up. We shall see if this will become a reality -- and how soon.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc


User currently offlinePlanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1008 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1550 times:
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http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/holnus/006200409061714.htm

First Bangla private airline plans global operations
Kolkata, Sept 6. (PTI): GMG Airlines, Bangladesh's only private career, would begin its global operations on September eight with an inaugural flight between Chittagong and Kolkata.

The airline, which presently operates 15 return flights within Bangladesh, would kick start its India operations with three flights a week to Kolkata.

GMG Airlines' General Manager (ground services) Nabhojit Panigrahi told PTI here that the Chittagong-Kolkata flight, a 37-seater Dash-8 aircraft, would be operated thrice a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

"This is the first phase of our international operations. We expect to flag off the Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka flight in October this year keeping in mind the post-puja health tourism rush to this country," Panigrahi said.

The flight would arrive here at 11.45 am and leave for Chittagong at 12.15 pm, he said.

The company has already received permission from Bangladesh Civil Aviation ministry to operate flights on the Dhaka-Colombo-Malay, Dhaka-Chennai, Dhaka-Kathmandu and Chittagong-Changmai (North Thailand) sectors.

"We would begin operations in these sectors by early next year. But before that we would expand our fleet size from three (two 37 seaters and a 50 seater aircraft) to five by including two bigger aircraft -- a Boeing 737 and a Fokker 100," he said.



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