Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG, Dhaka) is looking to convert a government loan into equity shares, reports The Financial Express of Bangladesh. The debt of BDT4.19 billion (USD52.3 million) stems from a voluntary redundancy scheme (VRS) initiated in 2007.

Biman underwent a restructure ten years ago to turn it into a public limited company. As part of that restructure, more than 1,800 employees were laid off under the VRS, at a cost of around BDT2.97 billion (USD37.5 million) paid by a loan which the Bangladeshi government secured from The World Bank. The restructure did not produce the financial improvement hoped for, and the Bangladeshi carrier has consistently performed poorly since.

Now, in an effort to reduce its liability, Biman has sent a letter to the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism asking to convert the VRS loan into government equity in the airline.

Biman has a fleet of four B737-800s, two B777-200(ER)s, four B777-300(ER)s and two Dash 8-400s which it deploys on flights throughout South Asia and the Middle East. It also serves London Heathrow.