Biman Bangladesh Pilots Call For Pre-COVID Pay To Return

Last-minute talks have stopped a strike by Biman Bangladesh pilots campaigning to restore their salaries to pre-COVID levels.…

Biman Bangladesh Pilots Call For Pre-COVID Pay To Return

Last-minute talks have stopped a strike by Biman Bangladesh pilots campaigning to restore their salaries to pre-COVID levels. Biman management had cut the salaries of all employees, including pilots, between 20-50%, owing to financial losses incurred from COVID-19.

Biman Bangladesh pilots are threatening to go on strike if their salaries are not restored to pre-COVID levels. Photo: Biman Bangladesh Airlines

Biman pilots threaten to stop working past contracted hours

On Monday, pilots refusing to work hours beyond contracted terms delayed Biman Bangladesh flights to Doha and Dubai. However, those flights eventually took off after the airline’s directors agreed to meet this weekend to discuss restoring salaries to pre-COVID levels.

Biman Bangladesh pilots via the Bangladesh Airlines Pilots’ Association have agreed to keep flying until then on the proviso directors agree to adjust their salaries. Pilots aren’t threatening to stop flying, but they are threatening to stop flying beyond contracted working hours.

According to Dhaka’s Daily Star, Biman Bangladesh Airlines employs approximately 105 pilots to operate international services who are contracted to fly about 70 to 75 hours per month. But most pilots fly more than those contracted hours.

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Biman’s pilots usually work more than their monthly contracted hours. Photo: Biman Bangladesh Airlines

Biman pilot salaries down 65% in real terms

Fuelling tensions between Biman management and its pilots is a reported “false assurance” that pre-COVID pilot salaries would be restored in August. Captain Mahbubur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots’ Association, told The Daily Star that the airline now had four days to adjust pilot salaries upwards.

“We won’t operate aircraft beyond the contracted working hours if our demand is not met by that time,” he said.

Not only has Biman Bangladesh cut salaries, but they’ve also stopped the pilots’ overseas allowances, meaning pilot salaries are down up to 65% in real terms. Normally that overseas allowance is worth around US$2,500 a month.

According to Captain Rahman, a senior Biman Bangladesh pilot is now earning less than US$5,900 a month under the current salary regime. Pilots have also lost several other benefits. Meanwhile, some other Biman Bangladesh employees have had their salaries restored to pre-COVID levels.

After talks on Monday night, Captain Rahman struck a relatively conciliatory tone, saying; “Although we have completed our assigned flying hours this month, we will operate additional flights so that Biman flight schedules are not in disarray.”

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Biman Bangladesh is back flying to some 17 international destinations daily. Photo: Biman Bangladesh Airlines

Biman Bangladesh Airlines getting back onto a solid footing again

After revenue losses exceeding US$250 million since the onset of COVID-19, Bangladesh’s aviation industry and its flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, finally appears to be on the upswing again.

Services are climbing back to pre-COVID levels, and Biman is now flying to 17 international destinations every day. Twenty-eight international airlines flew into Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport before COVID-19, and most of them are now back.

Around 80 flights a day arrive and depart from Dhaka’s Airport, approximately two-thirds of pre-COVID numbers. Passenger traffic at the airport is now running at about 10,000 a day.

“We are flying with 70% of our passenger capacity on the domestic routes. On the international routes, it is 80%,” Biman Bangladesh CEO Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal told The Daily Star.

“We are standing on a breakeven point at present. If the current situation continues, Biman will be able to stand on solid ground soon.

Biman Bangladesh’s return to relatively good flying conditions has its pilots asking for their pre-COVID levels salaries. They say the airline is now in a financial position to pay their old salaries and restore allowances.

A Biman Bangladesh board meeting on Saturday will make a final decision regarding restoring the pilots’ salaries and allowances.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Jetstar Reboots Its International Network

Lately, Qantas has hogged the headlines when it comes to resuming international flights in and out of Australia,…

Jetstar Reboots Its International Network

Lately, Qantas has hogged the headlines when it comes to resuming international flights in and out of Australia, but offshoot airline Jetstar is also dusting off its planes and preparing to resume international operations once again.

Jetstar is resuming some international routes as soon as mid-December. Photo; Jetstar

Jetstar is getting ready to fly at around 25 routes to eight countries over the next few months using a mixture of Airbus A320-200 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. Here’s a rundown on when various routes are resuming and how often Jetstar plans to fly on them.

Jetstar beefs up its trans-Tasman flying from January 1

Jetstar plans to fly nine routes between Australia and New Zealand by the start of 2022. New Zealand isn’t allowing quarantine-free entry for Australians into New Zealand yet. However, judging by the schedules, Jetstar (and other airlines) are clearly confident this will happen by the New Year.

From January 1, 2022, Jetstar is offering a daily return between Sydney and Auckland using an Airbus A320-200 aircraft. Also resuming from January 1 is a daily return Airbus 320 flight between Sydney and Queenstown.

The Queensland holiday hotspot of the Gold Coast is a significant jumping-off point for Jetstar flights to New Zealand, with four routes offered. Daily return flights to Auckland, thrice-weekly return flights to Christchurch, five times weekly return flights to Wellington, and thrice-weekly return flights to Queenstown are timetabled to operate from the Gold Coast from January 1, 2022. Jetstar is using its Airbus A320-200 aircraft on these routes.

There are also three Jetstar routes to New Zealand from Melbourne in the offing, including to Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown. From January 1, Jetstar will offer eight weekly A320 return flights between Melbourne and Auckland (daily with a double daily on Saturdays), four times a week return A320 flights to Christchurch, and daily return A320 flights to Queenstown.

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Jetstar will use Airbus A320-200 aircraft on its flights to and from New Zealand. Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar eyes Bali flights from February 2022

There is currently lots of noise Bali is about to drop its unusual five-day quarantine for fully vaccinated tourists, and while Jetstar isn’t yet locking in their usual full gamut of flights to Bali yet, they are putting flights to Bali from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane into their schedules.

From February 1, Jetstar is planning thrice-weekly return 787-8 Dreamliner flights between Sydney and Denpasar, with flights initially running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. It is the same deal from Melbourne, with three times a week return Dreamliner flights to Denpasar. The ex-Melbourne flights will initially run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

The likelihood of international flights operating out of Brisbane by February is less certain. Nonetheless, Jetstar has thrice-weekly Dreamliner return flights between Brisbane and Denpasar beginning February 2. Flights will initially operate on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Mondays.

Jetstar might be taking a punt on Brisbane re-opening by February, but it knows Perth is a lost cause. They haven’t scheduled any flights to Denpasar from Perth until the start of the northern summer flying season in late March 2022. Even then, seats on those flights have not been released for sale.

Jetstar also normally flies to Denpasar from Adelaide and Darwin. Early 2022 flights from either city are not yet timetabled in or available for sale.

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Jetstar plans to fly its 787-8 Dreamliners to Bali from three Australian cities by February. Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar’s Japan flights take-off again

Jetstar’s routes to Japan from both Cairns and the Gold Coast are coming back, with flights resuming in early March. Jetstar will once again start flying its Dreamliners between the Gold Coast and Tokyo Narita on March 2. The flights will initially run three times a week on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Monday.

Flights between Cairns and Narita are resuming slightly sooner on February 1. Jetstar will fly four times a week between the two cities using its Boeing 787-8 aircraft to make the seven and a half hour flight. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Jetstar’s other Japan route from Cairns is to Osaka’s Kansai Airport. Thrice weekly Dreamliner flights there will resume on February 2, with flights running on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

In an easterly direction, Jetstar is restarting its popular flights to Honolulu in March. Jetstar now has flights for sale to Honolulu from Sydney. The ex-Sydney flights will commence on March 3 and operate three times a week on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

Jetstar usually also flies to Honolulu from Melbourne. It has twice-weekly flights timetabled in from early March 2022 but has not yet released these flights for sale. Jetstar uses its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners on its Honolulu runs.

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Jetstar should be flying around 25 international routes from Australia by March 2022. Photo: Jetstar

A roundup of the remaining Jetstar international routes

There remain a handful of international routes resuming early next year. Jetstar is restarting its flights to Fiji on December 17, offering daily return A320-200 flights from Sydney.

Sydney will also host a new Jetstar service to Phuket, thrice-weekly flights starting on February 2. A Jetstar Dreamliner will take nine hours to make the flight to Phuket every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Flights to Phuket from Melbourne will resume one day later on February 3. Jetstar will operate return flights twice-weekly on Thursdays and Sundays.

Both Singapore and Ho Chi Minh will initially see two Jetstar routes early next year. Singapore will get Jetstar flights in from Melbourne and Darwin. Dreamliner flights from Melbourne are resuming on December 16 and will operate four times a week every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Thrice-weekly return flights between Darwin and Singapore will restart on December 21. The flights will operate every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Jetstar’s Airbus A320-200s will fly this relatively short four-and-a-half-hour sector.

Finally, Ho Chi Minh will see Jetstar flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Jetstar will fly a Dreamliner to Vietnam from Sydney every Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday from April 1. Dreamliner flights to Ho Chi Minh will run every Saturday, Monday, and Thursday from April 2.

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Jetstar’s initial international route network in early 2022. Source: GCmap.com

Still a dynamic flying environment

There are a few caveats to point out. Schedules in and out of Australia are pretty dynamic right now as border reopening dates shift and countries do travel corridor and quarantine deals.

A travel corridor with Singapore has just been announced, meaning frequencies there may increase and start dates come forward. A travel corridor with Bali is also imminent, which means more flights to Bali and probably sooner.

There is no guarantee New Zealand will be open to Australian travelers by January 1.

While you can have a degree of confidence most flights from both Sydney and Melbourne will resume on or before their current planned dates, you cannot say the same for international flights from other Australian cities.

Jetstar’s route rollout is good news, and there’s a reasonable degree of certainty behind it. But like most things flying these days, circumstances can change at very short notice.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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