Biman Bangladesh Wants To Add Flights To New York

Filed Under: Other Airlines

It’s always interesting to see what expansion goals airlines have. That’s not to say that they’ll ever come to fruition, but I find it interesting nonetheless. For example, Oman Air and RwandAir have both stated their desire to start flying to New York, though I’d be surprised to see that happen for either airline any time in the next decade.

Well, they’re not the only ones who want to fly to New York. Biman Bangladesh allegedly also wants to fly between Dhaka and New York, via Manchester (Pakistan International also operates their flight to New York via Manchester). This is based on a future destinations Biman routemap that was shared by @airlineroutes. As you can see, they also want to fly from Dhaka to Sydney, utilizing their existing Dhaka to Singapore flight, and then adding a tag flight from Singapore to Sydney.


Biman has a fleet of just 12 planes, and their only longhaul planes are six 777s. They also have four 787s on order, which they’re expected to take delivery of in the next few years.

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Biman Bangladesh flew to New York until 1996, but then had to discontinue service because they lost a Category 1 rating with the FAA, which is required to fly to the US. Apparently they wanted to relaunch the route in 2015, though decided against it, since it wasn’t economically viable.

I’ve been wanting to fly Biman Bangladesh for a while, and was going to take their flight from London to Dhaka, which stops in Sylhet. I was even in Dhaka recently, though ended up flying Kuwait Airways out of there.

I’ll be curious to see if this route ever happens. I can’t imagine the route has any chance of making money. If the route operates by way of Manchester they don’t actually have any competitive advantage over any other airline flying one stop from Dhaka to New York. Furthermore, while there’s some business travel to Dhaka, it’s not otherwise a very high yield market (as is clear based on the fares they charge for travel out of there).

So while I’d personally find this route to be pretty cool, I also think it’s highly unlikely…

  1. Tangential, but did you notice KU re-filed the CAI-JFK fare? It has gone from $550 to ~$3500! 🙁

  2. Biman also was flying to JFK in the 2000s. I remember repeatedly seeing their DC-10s at JFK in 2004 or 2005. They flew from T4.

  3. Just order all the UN guys based in NY to use Biman when they fly to Bangladesh…the only reason for Bangladesh aviation to exist are the cheap labour workers in Singapore and the Gulf, as well as all the UN bureaucrats who are involved in UNDP projects there.

  4. Biman has been trying to resume JFK flights for years. But as a Bangladesh-registered airline they sadly cannot get the safety rating to fly to the US. Their original plan was to go DAC-BHX-JFK and do the BHX-JFK leg a la PIA. From a biz perspective, Biman would lose millions on this flight, because with no real feeder network, the ME3++ competition, and the Bangladesh market heavily relying on US visa crap and economic forces, the investment into opening two new stations in high net worth places (US and UK), it would be a mess.

  5. A pure “pride” route for a national / government carrier, that is probably symptomatic of deeper issues. They should stick to shorter haul that they execute better and more profitably, and partner up to make longer connections.

  6. Their existing route to London sticks out on their route map as markedly different from the rest of their services – and is a reflection of the strong ties between the two countries. Large numbers of Bangladeshi families moved to the UK over the last few decades. There’d be a significant VFR traffic between the two.

    In that context, a direct flight to Manchester might make sense; much cheaper to operate than LHR, and very large numbers of Bangladeshis settled in the cities of northern England which are well served from Manchester.

    Does it make any sense to add on a JFK leg? Not that I can see.

  7. Biman flew to New York until 2006. On 13 May 2006, the FAA refused permission for Biman flight BG001 (Dhaka–Brussels–JFK) to enter its airspace, citing safety concerns over the ailing DC–10-30ER aircraft used on the route. The flight was diverted to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Canada, where the passengers were provided with alternative airline options to complete their journey. Canadian authorities inspected the aircraft and gave it a clean bill of health after which the aircraft returned to Dhaka without any passengers. The FAA eventually admitted it was mistaken and apologised for the error. The incident put an end to the route.

  8. Cat 1 status is not required to serve the US. If a country is in Cat 1 status, its airlines cannot add or change existing service to the US, but its airlines can continue to operate any scheduled flights they already have — hence how airlines like PAL and Air India have continued to fly to the US throughout their countries’ spells in Cat 1.

  9. I used to live in Bangladesh and traveled on Biman Air quite often. Once, they had duct tape holding the cover on over the aircon unit just above my head. I did not feel safe!

  10. New York has a huge Bangladeshi population. You can pretty much walk into any restaurant and order in Bengali. So the planes would be full in economy. Whether it will make money without a full business class is a different issue. However as a taxpayer funded airline it might be a valid mission for it to create connectivity with a city with a large number of relatives of those taxpayers as well as show the flag. Thats what flag carriers are for primarily

  11. Biman will not be flying to New York anytime soon. Restarting the JFK flight makes it in Bangladeshi papers from time to time, largely due to lobbying efforts by some people in the diaspora living in the East Coast. A few politicians bring it up on occasion since it was seen as a high prestige route. The route managed to lose money with corruption playing a main role. As mentioned, the ME3, Turkish, and now China Southern airlines means that even Bangladeshi’s in the US are unlikely to fly Biman thank to their chronic delays. The airline is a government run entity that operates under the 90s strategy of losing money on each ticket and compensating for it through volume.
    One note: Biman had and has a pretty decent safety record with their DC10s (and now B777s). I still refuse to fly them due to their determination to never be on time.

  12. Wonder which route they will take to JFK, if ever flying non-stop. Given the great circle route will not be possible due to the Himalayan hump, would they fly via Kunming China or would they fly like most flights on US-India route take, i.e. carefully navigate through middle-east airspace, then fly great circle up over northern atlantic?

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