Domestic airlines demand removal of fuel price discrepancy

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DHAKA, May 8, 2018 (BSS) – Top officials of domestic airlines today demanded cutting the price of jet fuels for eliminating discrepancy of fuel prices between local and foreign airlines.

The domestic airlines are facing hurdles in keeping their services operational due to fuel price discrepancy, they said at a pre-budget discussion on civil aviation and tourism sector in the capital.

The Aviation and Tourism Journalists Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB) in association with Bangladesh Tourism Board, Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) and Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) arranged the discussion at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).

A foreign airline pays Taka 65 per litre of jet fuel while a domestic airline Taka 91 per litre, said US-Bangla Airlines CEO Asif Imran.

“This overpricing and discrepancy in jet fuel price needs to be addressed for our survival,” he said.

Novoair managing director Mofizur Rahman said: “We are bound to purchase the fuel at a price offered by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. We have no other choice here whereas there are four bodies in India those sell jet fuels.”

Biman Bangladesh Airlines general manager Shakil Meraj said the national flag carrier has made profit worth Tk 606 crore over the last three years.

He sought government support to increase the capital base of Biman as it is going to purchase numbers of brand new Boeing dream liner under heavy credit.

Apart from the airlines, the tour operators also demanded allowing them to import duty free tourist vehicles.

Speaking as the chief guest, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal said the demand of local airlines logical and assured them of placing the demand to the Finance Minister.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the current performance of Biman in terms of handing luggage, he said if other countries can deliver services quickly, why Biman could not do so.

The Civil Aviation Minister recommended cutting jobs of aged and inefficient employees of the national flag carrier with compensation to gear up its services.

He said Biman is a pride of Bangladesh and it represents Bangladesh at home and abroad, urging all to work sincerely for upholding the image of the national carrier.

Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry M Faruk Khan said he is fully agreed with the proposal came from the stakeholders of the civil aviation and tourism sector and assured of taking into consideration of those proposals in consultation with the Finance Ministry.

Acting CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Nikhil Ranjan Roy, TOAB advisers Faridul Haque, Masud Hossain and Faruque Rahman, its director Taslim Shovon, ATAB deputy secretary general Nurul Alam Shaheen and BTB board member Zamiul Ahmed, among others, spoke at the meeting. ATJFB president Nadira Kiron moderated the discussion while its general secretary Tanzim Anwar delivered welcome speech.

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