Applications to resume flight operations by the owners or management teams of three defunct Bangladesh-based airlines are frustrating attempts by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) to sell aircraft left parked at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Bangladesh's Financial Express reports that the CAAB wants to sell 12 aircraft which have sat at the airport for between one and 12 years, with the owners/operators largely ignoring requests to pay the overdue and ever-escalating parking fees. The report flags eight aircraft belonging to United Airways, two belonging to Regent Airways, and one belonging to GMG Airlines. ch-aviation research has identified those company-owned aircraft as;

United Airways:

  • two ATR72-200s registered as S2-AFE (msn 385) and S2-AFU (msn 402);
  • one DHC-8-100 registered as S2-AES (msn 363); and
  • five MD-83s registered as S2-AEU (msn 49790), S2-AEH (msn 49937), S2-AFV (msn 53377), S2-AEI (msn 53183); and S2-AEJ (msn 53189).
  • a ninth United Airways aircraft parked at Dhaka, an A310-300 registered as S2-AFF (msn 672).

Regent Airways:

  • one B737-800 registered as S2-AIO (msn 28644); and
  • one DHC-8-300 registered as S2-AHA (msn 521) and S2-AHB (msn 521).

GMG Airlines:

  • one MD-82 registered as S2-ADO (msn 2145).

GMG Airlines ceased operations in 2012, United Airways in 2016, and Regent Airways in 2020. According to The Financial Express, all three airlines are attempting to restart, and their applications to do so are hindering CAAB's ability to auction off the planes. CAAB chairman Air Vice-Marshal M Mafidur Rahman told the newspaper that plans to sell the aircraft are well-advanced. Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is in the middle of an upgrade, and the aircraft are taking up considerable space, which Rahman wants to use as a cargo apron.

"(The) cargo terminal is not a storehouse," he said. "We'll go for auctioning the craft as early as possible after getting a legal opinion. A process is well underway."

The report says the CAAB has rejected GMG Airlines' application to sell its plane to fund the resumption of operations. Other than the single MD-82, they have no additional aircraft and have the highest unpaid parking tab with the CAAB. Regent Airways and United Airways still have relaunch applications pending.

ch-aviation has reported on the potential restart of United Airways. They owe the CAAB approximately BDT4 billion taka (USD37.9 million dollars) and have requested a waiver on the accrued fees and interest, which make up the bulk of the debt. Both Regent and United want to sell all or some of their parked aircraft to generate capital to acquire new aircraft to relaunch. However, the CAAB has not yet approved either airline doing so. Recently, the Bangladeshi government froze Regent Airways' remaining bank balances to recoup unpaid domestic passenger taxes.

"All official formalities, including submission of returns, are done (and the) technical and financial audits are done. We need permission from the CAAB to resume operations," said United's new cleanskin chairman Kazi Wahidul Alam. "Currently, the permission is on hold. The CAAB will not give permission without the payment of dues. If we can sell the aircraft, we'll purchase new two or three aircraft...but we need permission from the CAAB."