Air Transport World

Biman's ATP: new wave in Asia? (Biman Bangladesh Airlines)

Bangladesh airline has placed its new regional transports in service. Others are watching for the results.

Dhaka, Bangladesh-When two British Aerospace ATPs landed at Dhaka's Zia International Airport at the end of their delivery flights in September, it was a very special occasion for both the manufacturer and its customer, Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The Biman order for three ATPs was BAe's first sale of the aircraft type in Asia and was the U.K.'s biggest-ever trade deal with Bangladesh. For the airline, the aircraft represented the final phase of a re-equipment program that started six years ago ATW, 11/89).

The ATPs were flown by Biman and BAe crews from Woodford, England, to Dhaka over a route that avoided the Persian Gulf-overflying that region would have entailed hefty insurance premiums-with stops in Heraklion (Crete), Luxor (Egypt), Djibouti, Muscat and Delhi. The longest sector, 1,706 nm from Woodford to Heraklion, took 6 hr. 20 min. In service with Biman, primarily on domestic routes with sector times averaging well under an hour, range is not important but fuel capacity is-most airports in Bangladesh do not have fuel. Also, no airport other than at Dhaka has a ground power unit for the ATP, so battery starts are routine.

in a wide-ranging interview with ATW, Group Capt. Shaukat-ul Islam, Biman's managing director, said that the choice of the ATP to replace the airline's three 19year-old Fokker F27s resulted largely from its having a higher seating capacity than other aircraft evaluated-the Fokker 50, the de Havilland Dash 8-300 and the the ATR72. …

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