Recently, I found a number of news stories related to Airbus in Bangladeshi media. Most of the news is reported by reporters with a tagline ‘From Paris.’ I don’t understand why mainstream media and newspapers from Bangladesh published good words on Airbus and Biman! In recent headlines, Airbus has unveiled ambitious plans to uplift the skills of Bangladeshis in aviation and aerospace, coupled with negotiations for the sale of ten A350 aircraft to Biman, Bangladesh’s national carrier. With foreign carriers currently dominating 80% of the nation’s aviation market, the allure of Bangladesh’s large population and growing GDP is apparent to Airbus. However, as we delve into the details with #BimanAirbusAffair, it becomes imperative to scrutinize the feasibility and potential drawbacks of such a purchase, particularly against the backdrop of Biman’s management issues.
The soaring aspirations of Bangladesh’s aviation sector are evident in the projection that the country would require 55 wide-body aircraft by 2042. This surge in demand reflects the nation’s economic growth and the increasing connectivity needs of its population. In this context, negotiations for Biman’s acquisition of 10 A350 aircraft represent a significant step toward expanding and modernizing the national fleet. The domination of foreign carriers in Bangladesh’s aviation market underscores the global appeal of the nation’s potential. Airbus, recognizing the strategic importance of the market, aims to capitalize on this opportunity. The country’s large population and growing GDP make it an attractive market for aircraft manufacturers, with Airbus seeking to establish a strong foothold through its proposed deal with Biman. While the prospect of enhancing Biman’s fleet is promising, concerns arise when examining the airline’s current management issues. Reports highlight poor service quality and technical weaknesses, which have plagued Biman’s reputation. The question then arises: is the purchase of Airbus aircraft a solution to these problems, or does it exacerbate an already challenging situation?
The Airbus Purchase Dilemma:
In a critical analysis, it becomes apparent that the Airbus purchase, in the face of Biman’s management challenges, may not necessarily be a silver bullet for the airline’s woes. The technical and service deficiencies within Biman need to be addressed comprehensively before the introduction of new aircraft. Simply expanding the fleet without addressing the core issues could result in a superficial solution that fails to yield the desired results.
Alternative Solutions: Lessons from Air India’s Privatization:
Drawing lessons from the Indian aviation landscape, where Tata’s takeover of Air India marked a pivotal moment, Bangladesh might consider alternative solutions. The privatization of services, akin to the Tata model, could bring in external expertise, efficiency, and a customer-centric approach. Rather than a straightforward aircraft purchase, outsourcing the operational aspects to a third party might be a more strategic move for Bangladesh.
Potential Benefits of Service Privatization:
Service privatization offers numerous advantages, including enhanced operational efficiency, improved customer service, and a potential boost to the nation’s economy. By engaging a third party with a proven track record in managing airlines, Bangladesh could tap into a wealth of experience and ensure a smoother transition toward a more competitive and customer-friendly aviation sector. I believe, as Bangladesh stands at the crossroads of its aviation future, the Airbus purchase must be scrutinized not only in the context of expanding the national fleet but also in addressing the deep-rooted issues within Biman. A holistic approach that combines fleet expansion with comprehensive management reforms is essential for sustainable growth. The Tata-Air India model provides a compelling case for considering service privatization as an alternative path. This approach could not only address the immediate challenges faced by Biman but also pave the way for a more resilient and competitive aviation sector in Bangladesh. As stakeholders evaluate the Airbus negotiations, it is paramount to prioritize long-term sustainability over immediate fleet expansion to ensure that the skies of Bangladesh soar to new heights.
Airbus, one of the giants in the aviation industry, has a story to come under scrutiny for its lobbying practices and allegations of bribery. This article delves into the controversial aspects of Airbus’s lobbying culture and examines its history in relation to bribery accusations. As stakeholders in the aviation sector, it is crucial to assess the ethical dimensions of companies that play a pivotal role in shaping the global aerospace landscape. Airbus, like many large corporations, engages in lobbying efforts to influence government policies and decisions in its favor. While lobbying is a common practice in the business world, concerns arise when it begins to exert undue influence or compromise the public interest. Airbus’s extensive lobbying efforts have raised questions about the transparency and ethicality of its interactions with policymakers.
Critics argue that the company’s lobbying practices may be contributing to an uneven playing field in the aviation market, favoring its interests over those of competitors. Such methods can undermine fair competition and potentially stifle innovation within the industry. One of the darkest clouds hanging over Airbus is its history of bribery allegations. The company has faced legal challenges in multiple jurisdictions, with accusations ranging from offering bribes to secure contracts to violating anti-corruption laws. While Airbus has made efforts to address these issues and enhance its compliance mechanisms, the stain of bribery allegations persists. Several cases have come to light, raising questions about the company’s commitment to ethical business practices. In 2020, Airbus reached a record-breaking settlement of €3.6 billion with authorities from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States over allegations of bribery and corruption. This settlement highlighted the severity of the claims and the need for a comprehensive overhaul of Airbus’s business practices.
Impact on Bangladesh:
As Airbus continues to expand its footprint in emerging markets, including Bangladesh, the concerns over its lobbying culture and bribery history become particularly relevant. Bangladesh, with its burgeoning aviation market, must carefully evaluate the implications of partnering with a company that has faced serious allegations related to corruption. Negotiations for the sale of 10 A350 aircraft to Biman, Bangladesh’s national carrier, highlight the stakes involved. While the deal could potentially bolster the country’s aviation capabilities, it also prompts a crucial examination of Airbus’s commitment to ethical conduct and whether it aligns with Bangladesh’s values and expectations. As Airbus navigates the complex terrain of the aviation industry, it must address the shadows cast by its lobbying practices and bribery history. Transparency, ethical conduct, and a commitment to fair competition should be at the forefront of its corporate agenda.
In the interconnected world of aviation, the choices made by industry leaders reverberate globally, impacting economies, consumers, and the very fabric of fair competition. According to Biman’s revenue and expenditure wing data, Biman was a profitable company from 1991-92 to 2003-04 financial year. Since then, the company has suffered continuous losses. In 2007, the caretaker government made Biman a public limited company. Biman benefited both years of caretaker government. Biman made losses for five consecutive years from 2009-10 to 2013-14. Then, gain three fiscal years. Biman made losses again in the 2017-18 financial year. In the financial year 2018-19, it made a profit of Tk 218 crore. In the financial year 2019-20, the company made a loss of Tk 81 crore. Biman was in losses for seven of the 12 financial years. At that time, the company’s total loss was 1537 crores. In the remaining five financial years, the profit was Tk 935 crore.
Stay cool. Embrace weird.
In the case of Bangladesh, as it contemplates its engagement with Airbus, a careful evaluation of the potential risks and benefits is essential. The aviation industry’s future depends on companies embracing a culture of responsibility and integrity, ensuring that growth and progress are achieved without compromising the principles that uphold a just and equitable business environment. Biman Bangladesh Airlines, the national flag carrier of the country, has long been a symbol of national pride. However, recent events at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport have cast a shadow over the airline’s competence. Some incidents at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport shed light on potential deficiencies in Biman’s management and training programs. The airline industry is notorious for its unforgiving nature, demanding a workforce that is not only skilled but also consistently updated on the latest safety measures and protocols. Over the years, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has faced challenges in maintaining a stellar reputation. Reputation is a crucial asset in the aviation industry, influencing passengers’ trust, partnerships with other carriers, and the overall perception of the airline. Biman’s failure to address and rectify the competence issues may result in long-term damage to its reputation, impacting its market position and competitiveness.