Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) has secured funding to purchase ten Airbus aircraft after signing a joint communique with the United Kingdom that will allow it to access funds via the UK Export Finance scheme. The communique was signed in London on May 6 just days after the airline said it wanted to buy the planes.

“This deal demonstrates the UK's commitment to strengthening Bangladesh’s aviation industry, in turn helping to create jobs in both countries,” said Lord Dominic Johnson of Lainston CBE, the UK's minister of state in the Department for Business and Trade.

Salman F Rahman, adviser to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, signed on behalf of Bangladesh. The deal coincides with the prime minister's visit to the UK. The UK Export Finance scheme gives Bangladesh access to long term credit on easy deals, and follows active lobbying by Airbus to lock in an order, including sending demonstration aircraft to Dhaka.

The precise nature of the aircraft order remains unclear, but officials from Bangladesh's Ministry of Civil Aviation have been briefing local media on a May 3 Biman Bangladesh board meeting and the decision to buy eight passenger and two freight aircraft, with the first two planes expected in 2026.

"The government plans to revive and regain the international aviation market following the Prime Minister's directives on turning the country into an aviation hub in the subcontinent. We have taken a policy decision to purchase 10 new state-of-the-art aircraft for Biman,” said Mahbub Ali, the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism.

“The decision to launch several new routes, including Japan and the United States, has already been taken. The procurement of the Airbus fleet is part of our plans for the region,” said Shafiul Azim, Biman Bangladesh's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Unnamed ministry officials are quoted saying Airbus was offering aircraft at around half their list prices. The prospective order is believed to involved A350s, including two A350Fs. However, Biman's board is yet to send technical information to the government, including details of the acquisition process and how they will pay for the planes. ch-aviation has contacted Biman Bangladesh Airlines for further information.

After bringing the A350F to Dhaka in March, Airbus reportedly put several proposals in front of Biman Bangladesh and the government at the Bangladesh Aviation Summit held in the same month. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Biman Bangladesh's current fleet of 21 aircraft comprises six B737-800s, four B777-300ERs, four B787-8s, two B787-9s, and five DHC-8-Q400s. It last operated Airbus aircraft in 2016, when it phased out the final of six A310-300s.

Meanwhile, local and foreign airlines serving Bangladesh will now have to start charging Bangladeshi's BDT taka denominated fares rather than US dollar, according to a circular from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. The decision, which comes into effect on July 1, is primarily designed to drive down ticket prices for consumers but will also reduce foreign exchange transaction fees for airlines. Biman Bangladesh flies to 28 destinations in 14 countries.