Biman Bangladesh Airlines has plans to add freighters to its fleet to satisfy “huge demand” from local traders, Md Mokabbir Hossain, the carrier’s managing director and CEO, told Dhaka-based outlet New Age.
Biman’s long-term strategy sees the airline growing its fleet to a total of fifty aircraft by 2030. The carrier currently only has a fleet of eighteen passenger aircraft, including ten widebodies in the form of four 777-300ERs, four 787-8s and two 787-9s.
No additional details were given by Biman, except that the freighter aircraft would be used to connect Southeast Asia with the Middle East and beyond, via Dhaka (DAC).
Narrowbody conversions could be the carrier’s entry point to freighters. In particular, Biman has two 737-800s (28648 and 28653) leased from GECAS that are approximately nineteen years old. According to Mokabbir Hossain, the leases for those two aircraft are expiring “soon.” Given the suitability of these 737-800s as conversion candidates, GECAS could convert them into freighter configuration and lease them back to Biman. Of course, Biman could also opt for less expensive 737 Classic conversions.
Bangladesh is already home to one freighter operator; Sky Capital Cargo, which has one 737-200F (24197) and two Fokker 50s, flies a number of domestic routes and has plans to expand to Kunming (KMG) and Guangzhou (CAN), according to its website.