When Best Air (BA) was grounded, I never though it'd catch up again, but here it is, making the news once more! Guess who's at the controls now? ummmm..... Biman? GMG?... United Airways?? ... nnnope!!! It's Destiny, yeah bro, that's right. I don't know how many of you do get excited hearing a marketing (low-level) company taking over an aviation company, but I do (a lot)!!
Here's why: Say you are a teacher at a University, and on your recent holidays you want to go visit your cousins in Australia. On the way to Australia, over the Pacific, your jet starts falling due to engine failure, and the decompression has had its toll on the pilots' lives. At that point one of the surviving crews approaches you and asks, can you fly a plane? What would you say? (Lolzzzz)
All that was my thoughts on the taking over of the business. Anyway, if you'd like to read the news that I copied from two newspapers you might actually get some serious news. Hope you've a good week!
Destiny Group has bought off 80 percent stakes in the troubled Best Air for Tk 150 crore, said a top official of the local airline yesterday.
Best Aviation Ltd, the owning company of Best Air, and Destiny, a multilevel marketing company, signed a share-transfer deal on November 11, according to M Haider Uzzaman, who now acts as the managing director for the airline.
The deal was announced at the re-launch of the carrier last night.
“We were looking for partners to recover from the financial crunch that forced us to be grounded for months,” said Haider Uzzaman who had presided over Best Aviation as chairman before the takeover.
Mohammad Rafiqul Amin, chairman of Destiny Group, said his company wants to help Best Air come out of the crisis it has been facing for the last 21 months.
"Best Air has a ready infrastructure and permission to fly on 17 routes, and this has made us interested," said Amin, also the new chairman of Best Aviation.
"Now, we have plans to purchase three aircraft, including ATR-500 with the capacity of 72 seats, and Airbus-320 with 150 seats," he said, adding: "We hope these new initiatives will help the airline begin a new journey and regain its reputation."
The company started passenger service in January 2008 under brand Best Air.
But within 14 months of its operation, the airline was grounded amid financial crisis resulting from a surge in oil prices on the global market.
Haider Uzzaman said: "The fuel price soared so high that we were unable to bear the losses coming from the increased fuel bills."
"And eventually we were forced to suspend flights to avoid further losses," he said, claiming that the airline incurred a loss of Tk 72 crore at the time it was grounded in March 2009.
Since then Haider Uzzaman had been looking for partners to inject fresh funds to salvage the airline that spread wings to catch a portion of Bangladesh's air travel market of nearly 40 lakh passengers a year.
"We negotiated with many potential investors. Finally we formed ties with Destiny," he said.
The airliner had earlier formed a partnership with Kuwait-based Aqeeq Aviation Holding in March 2007. But Haider Uzzaman claimed that Aqeeq did not invest in the airline in line with the contract.
He said Destiny would pay Tk 56 crore initially. "The rest will be paid within the next three months."
The partnership will help Best Air use the huge marketing and distribution network of Destiny and resume flights soon.
"We are trying to give a new look to the airline by bringing in new aircraft and hiring skilled hands from home and abroad," said Haider Uzzaman, adding that the airline wants to resume domestic flights from March 26.
He said the airline is now in the process of getting a clearance from Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh to resume flights.
"We want to resume our passenger services on Dhaka-Chittagong route from the Independence Day. We also plan to operate two flights a day on Dhaka-Cox's Bazar route from the same day."
It will resume flights to Sylhet, Barisal, Jessore and Syedpur on March 26, Haider Uzzaman said.
The airline plans to open flights to regional destinations such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Dubai, Singapore and Male from September next year.
Best Air will appear in a new shape in March next year aiming to provide better services by world class professionals.
The announcement of re-launching came at a function held at a city hotel on Monday afternoon.
Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad attended the occasion as chief guest.
Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Moin Uddin Khan Badal MP, Secretary Shafiq Alam Mehedi and Destiny Group Chairman Mohammad Rafiqul Amin also attended the programme.
Destiny Group recently acquired 80 percent of shares of Best Air. Best Air would operate flight in domestic and international routes by Airbus-320 and ATR-500. The Airbus-320 has 150 revenue seats with 15 business classes while the ATR-500 has 72 passenger seats.
In international routes, it would operate flights to Bangkok, Canton, Jeddah, Kualalampur, Maldives, Manila, Myanmar, Singapore, Ryad, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong through digital fly-by-wear flight control system.
Expert cabin crew from home and abroad will offer modern in-flight services to ensure comfortable fly in the air.