Regent Airways have grounded its operation by stopping their entire activities; sent 700 staff and officials leave without payment and closed transactions with banks.
The other local airlines have cut their salaries, bonuses for last couple of months and are seriously contemplating maximum job cut within next month, airlines industry sources said.
“We kept our operation idle, sent officials leave to keep our company alive.” a high official of regent airways told Business Mirror preferring anonymity.
It’s CEO Imran Asif in March 22 in a statement had said that the global outbreak of the coronavirus has triggered travel ban in various countries, for which it only had to be postponed international route.
Meanwhile, US Bangla Airlines have not paid salary for the month of April yet. The company is planning to cut salary and it’s employees to send leave without payment if the situation continues for next couple of months.
MD Kamrul Islam, General Manager, Public Relations of US Bangla Airlines has told the Business Mirror that the company has not yet taken any decision about job cut.
“But if the situation remain unchanged for next couple of months it would almost impossible for the company to continue all services,” Mr. Kamrul added.
Novo airways is doing very good as they paid salaries to their officials and have not come out any decision of job cut in near future, sources said.
Mohammad Mokabbir Hossain, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said, Biman has cut down the salaries of the staffers by 10 to 50 percent as per the decision taken by Biman Board of Directors. But he added “There’s no decision on retrenching any staff and officials of Biman. We’re getting money from the Airport Ground Service by operating chartered flights.
Retired Pilot of Biman, Captain Nasim said the private airlines kept a huge amount of money from pilots as security bond, they should pay it back to pilots at this pandemic.
Meanwhile, Aviation Operators Association of Bangladesh (AOAB) leaders sought parking, sitting and hiring charges withdrawl and payment of bank loan installments from government.
“The aviation industry is under massive threat due to coronavirus situation as it has to pay the civil aviation charge, wages and maintenance cost,” a letter sent by the AOAB to the ministry said.
Besides, critics said Regent Airlines is owned by Habib Group, a business conglomerate in Chittagong who are not in such condition of laid down its operation and send officials unpaid leave.
“The company want to use Coronavirus as a trick so that they need not payback money to the government banks,” Masud Ahmed, an aviation expert said.
Regent Airways (incorporated as HG Aviation Limited) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Habib Group – the Chattogram-based conglomerate engaged in a diverse portfolio of business endeavours which include power, steel, readymade garments, textiles, spinning, cement, paper and fertilizer among others.
The airline began commercial flight operations since 10th November, 2010 using its own fleet of two Canadian-built Bombardier Dash-8-Q300 aircraft, each seating 50 passengers in a single-class layout. The aircraft is known for its exceptional reliability and passenger comfort.
Presently Regent Airways fleet consists of 06 (six) aircrafts. Among, those 04 (four) Boeing 737-800 aircraft and 02 (two) Dash-8-Q300 aircraft and additional aircrafts on order.