I doubt many people have flown with Biman. In fact, some people may not have even heard of them. However, despite a rocky history, this airline is rapidly improving.
Biman Bangladesh is the flag carrier of Bangladesh. Its main hub is at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and it also operates flights from its secondary hub at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong (though mostly domestic flights are operated from there).
Created in February 1972, Biman was adversely affected by corruption and mismanagement, yet at its peak, the airline operated flights to 29 international destinations, extending from New York City in the west to Tokyo in the east. The airline was wholly owned and managed by the Government of Bangladesh until 2007, but since becoming a public limited company in 2007, the airline has restructured by reducing staff and begun to modernise its fleet.
Biman serves 18 international destinations. However, the carrier has service agreements with 43 countries, leaving room for expansion in the future (at the moment it lacks the required number of aircraft). Annual Hajj flights, transporting tourists and non-resident Bangladeshi workers and migrants, as well as the activities of its subsidiaries form an integral part of the airline’s business.
Specifically, the airline operates flights to several destinations in the Middle East, some destinations in South and South East Asia; London and Rome in Europe. In the future, I would hope Biman get the chance to serve some major cities in China and more in South East Asia. Possibly another destination in Europe (Manchester?) would be good for the airline, too.
Biman’s newer B777s are equipped with modern in-flight entertainment. Every seat is fitted with personal touch screen displays provided by Thales. It is loaded with movies, songs and games. It also has high resolution moving maps and live flight information. English and Bengali language newspapers are also available onboard in the aircraft, which is a nice touch, as not many airlines provide newspapers these days. Little touches like this show that since its corporate restructuring, Biman is certainly an improving force.
Catering on Biman is nothing amazing, but still serves up better in flight meals in economy class compared to regional rivals Air India and PIA (but nowhere near as good as SriLankan). You can usually get simple but effective meals to fill your tummy during the flight. Drinks services are sparse during longhaul flights, as the Biman cabin crew prefer to make you ask them for drinks, rather than offering you drinks every hour (like the cabin crew does on the best airlines, such as Singapore Airlines).
With a dedicated cabin crew, who provide smiles and attention throughout the flight, as well as competent ground staff at airports, Biman are surely on the road to stardom. Their business plan is to dominate Bangladesh aviation and then step-by-step move in to neighbouring countries and provide a cheaper alternative than what exists already. Biman may not succeed in everything they do, but they are certainly a sleeping giant, and with the introduction of a larger fleet of aircraft, they can begin to serve all those destinations for which they have the traffic rights but not yet the aircraft.