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Biman management must try hard for improving

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THE Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection has fined Biman Bangladesh Airlines Tk 60,000 for taking exempted travel tax from four people who went to Saudi Arabia from Sylhet to perform Umrah this year. The national flag carrier was penalised on Wednesday following a complaint from the four and was also directed to return the tax money. For Biman to become a truly commercial airline, the board should have professionals from the airline industry.
 For many years, Biman has been running at a loss. To reverse the situation, there is need for planning, professionalism, and autonomy. Merely adding aircraft to its fleet would not help to improve its image or earnings unless the ground and on-board services are improved. On behalf of the four, a victim filed the complaint with the directorate. In the complaint, he said Biman took additional charges from them, saying that they could not fly to Saudi Arabia with tickets bought at the promotional price. Besides, Biman also took travel tax from them though the government declared a tax exemption for the people who go for Umrah. These passengers went to Jeddah from Sylhet Osmani International Airport on January 7 this year for Umrah after purchasing the tickets online. They were charged extra and the travel tax was taken from them by the Biman authorities at the airport before their flight to Saudi Arabia.
 We have seen Biman being steadily squeezed out of the market as it lost a lot of business to other airlines, primarily because of the poor quality of services compared to what the others have been offering. The national carrier's terrible track record of missing flights and failure to meet even the most basic consumer satisfaction levels have relegated Biman to the status of an airline most people would prefer to avoid. Systemic graft and bad management have now become synonymous with Biman and nothing short of a major overhaul in the management can rectify the problem.
  Biman must have corruption free professional management to utilise its potential. We have government that believes in the power of corruption. Biman has to build its own international reputation for attracting travellers. We hope that the Biman authority will think more about its own responsibility as the flag bearer and forget the politics of corruption permeated in all sectors of public life.

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