‘Threats by pilots to refrain from extra flights tarnished Biman’s commercial interest’
The national airliner today said threats by pilots of Biman that that they would refrain from flying extra flights if the authorities do not address salary disparity between pilots and other employees by July 30 tarnished Biman's commercial interest.
"What is the consequence of non-operation of some pilots can't be ascertained at this stage. It rests with Biman management especially with the Directorate of Flight Operations how they address any such situation," Biman said in an explanation.
"But this is for sure that such threat by some pilots has now tarnished Biman's commercial interest. Passengers from Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dammam and Dubai might have received a wrong and fabricated message from some vested people for which Biman's revenue will be negatively impacted."
Biman authorities said they assured all passengers that Biman will do all that is needed to keep the flights unhindered.
"So, Biman requests not to pay any heed to such fabricated news."
The Executive Committee of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots' Association (BAPA), on July 14 decided that if Biman authorities does not adjust the pay by July 30, all pilots will operate the flight only in accordance with the bilateral agreement between Biman and Bapa.
Capt Mahbubur Rahman, president of BAPA told The Daily Star that Biman pilots will go only "fly by book" if their demands are not meet by July 30 meaning that pilots will not fly work any additional duty to operate flights.
According to "fly by book," we are scheduled to fly 75 hours in a month. But many pilots are flying going beyond their flying hours to keep Biman afloat," he also said.
If the pilots do not fly aircrafts, the airline's most popular destinations including Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dammam, and Dubai flights might be cancelled for need of pilots, sources in Biman said.
"We will be forced to stop flying of aircraft if necessary if our demand is not met finally," he vowed.
Biman in an explanation said it is a regular practice in Biman that pilots get extra payment in the name of "Productivity Allowance" for every single hour they fly beyond their monthly target.
The same is practiced in other airlines too. However, Biman never compels a pilot to fly more hours beyond the ceiling determined by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB).
Biman always appreciates for additional flying by any pilot and pay them accordingly.
However, on average Biman never received 75 hours of flying in any month collectively from all pilots. It may be mentioned that CAAB allows a pilot to fly 120 hours a month, 300 hours quarterly and 1000 hours annually.
Biman authorities said any individual pilot may stop flying and biman management would take all administrative measures for any unlawful act by any corner. Biman Management would take all actions to keep the airline afloat.
"Biman Management has slashed salaries of not only pilots but of all of its employees in different percentage based on their actual salaries. In Covid-19 situation, most of the reputed airlines simply declared some pilots redundant, some pilots were sent on leave without pay and salary was also affected for many pilots."
Biman never terminated any of its pilots during Covid-19. Many pilots received the salaries even without generating single flying hour and many of them generated only couple of hours during the initial months of Covid-19, Biman authorities said.
It added, however, as the situation started improving Biman also kept reducing the pay cut starting from the lowest pay group of employees of Biman.
In July 2021, only some percentage of highly paid pilots is left to be overturned.