Biman Bangladesh is seeing cargo pick up sharply after a ban on direct flights to Britain was lifted, Binman acting general manager for Cargo, Mohd Arif Ullah told Air Cargo Week.
UK authorities ended the ban on March 12, with Biman starting cargo operations to Heathrow two days later. Biman started to move some “17 tonnes of cargo per flight from the first day of operation after the lifting of ban,” says Ullah.
Triggered by security concerns, the ban had required all cargo to be rescreened in a third country and had been a blow for Biman’s cargo operations. The airline is now optimistic about the future.
Currently 500 to 650 tonnes of cargo transported every day from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), formerly known as Dacca International Airport and Zia International Airport.
“Last year, that was 500 to 550 tonnes,” says Ullah.
Biman has learned from the ban and has taken a number of measures to boost security, he says. This included installing a double view scanner in warehouses to satisfy the requirement of logistics and partner carriers as well as the obligation of importing countries, Ullah says.
“To establish the strong security proficiency against unauthorized interference the whole Warehouse had been covered with CCTV and security agents,” he told Air Cargo Week.
Whilst he is optimistic about the future, Biman does note it is going to bump against the infrastructure limits which hold back Bangladesh and talks of cargo being at a “maximum” this year.
A number of logistics supports such as escorted vehicles, tow tractors and more manpower are essential for smooth cargo operation, said Ullah of Dhaka’s airport.
This is part of a broader problem throughout the fast-developing country which lacks modern warehouse, logistics support and skilled manpower and lack of freighter service and dedicated cargo personnel, he adds.
Despite this, Biman is planning to strengthen its British and EU cargo presence this year and once its Dreamliners are delivered try and get more cargo from China.