Shilla
Topic Author
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu May 09, 2002 11:42 pm

Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:49 pm

THE DAILY STAR
Bangladesh


Pilots refuse to fly old F28s to Nepal
Say aircraft unsafe in icy Himalayan conditions
Staff Correspondent


Pilots of Biman's F28 aircraft have been refusing to fly the aging planes to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu since Sunday, citing frequent technical breakdown in icy conditions during flight over the mountainous region.

"We cannot risk the lives of passengers as it often happens that one of the engines would stop functioning when the anti-ice gear is used," said an F28 co-pilot yesterday seeking anonymity.

Sources said Biman currently has eight pilots including three captains to operate its three F28 aircraft, but most pilots were not provided the special training required to fly over the hilly terrain of Nepal, which is some 4000 feet above sea level. Also, one of the captains is currently on leave.

Captain Nasimul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Airline Pilots Association, alleged that the in spite of the danger, Biman management is trying to force the F28 pilots into operating the hazardous flights to Nepal.

However, Captain Kamal Mahmood, director of Biman's flight operations, said the F28s are airworthy. "We have got clearance from engineers that the planes are safe, but pilots are still refusing to fly. Currently, there is a shortage of captains for the F28s, but we have eight cadet pilots now undergoing training."

Sources said the pilots' boycott is a protest against Biman's move to procure two obsolete F28s from Indonesia, adding such a move shows poor business strategy on the part of Biman given that other airlines are phasing out the outdated planes.

Biman operates four weekly flights to the Himalayan kingdom and plans to raise the number to seven from next month.

Apart from the F28s, two leased Boeing 737s are also being used to service the Dhaka-Katmandu route. But the national carrier will likely find it hard to maintain flight schedule as the 737s will no longer be available from April 30 on expiry of the lease agreement.



Now even the pilots don´t trust their F28s anymore...  Insane
In my opinion it´s very important to think of passenger safety first, so I can understand their decisions.
 
swissgabe
Posts: 5147
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2000 4:57 am

RE: Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:53 pm

I wonder if we will once see positiv Biman news ...

I might fly on this route later this year or next year. I think the F28 is still a great plane ...
Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
 
planemannyc
Posts: 939
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:54 am

RE: Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:57 pm

Hi Shilla,

I read that. It may be a way for the pilot's union to get something from management. Of course, that is not to say that the choice of F-28s was a good one. It smells of corruption here (do you think this post will get deleted as well  Big grin? ). However, Biman has been flying the F-28 on that route for a long time. Perhaps pilot shortage is a concern. I would not be surprised if there is an angle here that we are not seeing.

I still don't understand why the Bangladesh government has refused GMG Airlines entry into Dhaka-Katmandu market. DAC-KTM could do with a bit more competition. 15-20 years ago, Royal Nepal had 10 flights to Dhaka along with a 5/6 weekly by Biman and Singapore used to fly the route two times a week and PIA had also flown the route for a period of time. Alas, now it's down to just Biman.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc
 
Shilla
Topic Author
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu May 09, 2002 11:42 pm

RE: Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:02 am

Swissgabe, unfortunately I doubt it.

But today, the magazine "Aero International" wrote that Biman is going to replace their DC10s with second hand A330s and A340s - well...who believes in that  Confused

Any up to date information (no guessing, please  Smile/happy/getting dizzy ) ?
 
planemannyc
Posts: 939
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:54 am

RE: Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:36 am

Shilla,

About a month ago, I read a note on parliamentary discussions in Bangladesh where the minister of aviation said something about Airbus A330 as replacement for DC-10s. However, I have seen no tender notices for that. As a matter of fact, a new tender was floated for 2 DC10-30s for lease / lease-purchase with delivery scheduled for July 2004. Now these two DC-10s may be for renewing/replacing existing leases. But knowing how Biman works, no tender may be even be sent out for the Airbuses -- if it is Airbuses the airline decides to purchase. This minister sure has changed his statements a few times. First it was Boeing 777s. Then it was we have to study what we need and are getting both Airbus and Boeing to study this at no cost to the airlines, and then the Airbus statement. Keeping things a secret is a well established practice of this airline. There is no transparency there.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc

[Edited 2004-04-28 17:42:48]
 
planemannyc
Posts: 939
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:54 am

RE: Biman Pilots Refuse To Fly F28s To Nepal

Thu Apr 29, 2004 8:48 am

And now, the Biman F-28s stopped flying on domestic routes because they were insulted by some Biman official, according to the Daily Star. The plot thikens. I bet some of this has to do with promotions and seniority and not just technical problems / offical's insults. One has to ask why did the official state what he stated?

The Daily Star article:

http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/04/29/d40429011212.htm

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc