PM asks aviation authorities to ensure flight safety
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the authorities concerned to ensure safe flying and maintenance of the aircraft in order for bringing down occurrence of airplane accidents, describing flight operating as a highly technical profession.
“You all must ensure utmost care for safe flying and maintenance of the aircraft purchased by hard-earned revenue and foreign currency,” she said while speaking as the chief guest at the closing ceremony of three-day 6th seminar on “International Flight Safety” at a city hotel.
Mentioning that there is no alternative to professional skills and honesty to this end, the premier said: “Operating airplane is highly technical profession in which expertise is a must. This professionalism brings confidence for people concerned and simultaneously brings glory and honor for the organisations.”
The premier expected that the participants of local-foreign as well as military-civil agencies with their rich experience and knowledge gathered from the seminar would be able to identify different challenges for improving flight safety standards which help to curb airplane accidents.
“Our national agencies have been benefitted from the opinion exchange programme, which would greatly help them to ensure flight safety in our country,” she opined.
Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) and Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) jointly organised the seminar.
The theme of the sixth “International Flight Safety” seminar is “Team effort can ensure Team Safety”.
Participants of 16 Air Forces from different countries of four continents and representative from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) took part in the seminar.
Representatives from USA, Italy, China, Malaysia, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh took part in the seminar.
The premier earlier distributed certificates among speakers of the seminar. Speakers from Bangladesh, India, Italy, Nigeria, Malaysia and representatives from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) were provided with the certificates. State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism was present on the dais while Chief of the Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) Air Vice Marshall M Mafidur Rahman and Director of Flight Safety at Bangladesh Air Force Air Commodore Mohammad Mostafizur Rahman spoke on the occasion.
The prime minister later visited pavilions of local and international airways and Bangladesh Air Force.
Referring to a recent survey of International Civil Aviation Organisation on flight safety in which CAAB has obtained highest 75.46% marks among Asian countries, Sheikh Hasina said, “Bangladesh Air Force and our civil aviation authority are maintaining comparatively better and satisfactory standard in flight safety in the region.”
“Recently, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has also achieved international Five Star award in safe aviation standard,” she said, expressing hope that Bangladesh Civil Aviation would be declared as Category-1 by the International Safety Assessment Programme of US Federal Aviation Administration.
Highlighting various projects taken by her government for the development of civil aviation, the prime minister said, “We are implementing a project to turn Cox’s Bazar Airport into an International one, expanding its runway into 12,000ft.”
She said the present government is going to construct one more international airport in Bagerhat district, adding, “We are working to make Saidpur Airport a regional hub for further strengthening connectivity with neighbouring countries – India, Bhutan and Nepal.”
In this context, she also said, “After assuming office for the first time, we have upgraded Sylhet and Chittagong airports as the international ones.”
Noting that her government has taken a number of measures to make air trip accessible, comfortable and safe, she said “The government is constructing third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Upon completion of the terminal, it will be possible to provide service to approximately 12 million passengers per year which is two and a half times more than that of the existing capacities.”
The premier said Awami League government has also enacted Civil Aviation Authority Act, 2017 to upgrade the civil aviation.
“Our steps will provide comforts to air travelers and also help to create new air routes in the days to come. As a result, we are optimistic for faster growth of our tourism industry,” she stated.
Elaborating the government’s measures for the development of Bangladesh Air Force dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the premier said, “Our government is working hard to build the Air Force as a strong force and also to modernize Biman Bangladesh Airlines through purchasing state of the art fighter aircraft, aircraft, radar systems and other complementary equipment in phases.”
Bangabandhu through his visionary and firm decision stepped up modernising the nascent Air Force by including supersonic fighter aircraft MiG-21, transport aircraft, helicopters, and air defence radar system, she stated.
The premier said, “During our government in 1996, we started modernizing Air Force as a time-befitting force and undertook different programmes. That time onward, we included Fourth Generation MIG-29 Fighter Aircraft, YAK-13, C-130J transport aircraft, L-410 and AW-119 and AW-139 maritime search and rescue helicopter into the Air Force. Later, we purchased two DC-10 aircraft for inclusion in civil aviation sector in 1999 and 2000.”
“When we came into power again in 2009, we concentrated on capacity building for manufacture, maintenance and overhauling of various types of aircraft and other equipment,” she added.
The premier said, “We purchased 10 passenger carriers, including four B-787 dreamliners, two B-737 and four B-777 from Boeing in over the last 10 years.”
“These most modern aircraft are suitable for carrying long distance flights for example from Dhaka to New York, Toronto, Sydney etc. and we are eager to do that. Keeping this in mind, our civil aviation authority has been working faster to upgrade it as a category-1 authority,” she continued.
Mentioning that Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre was established in 2011, she said, “We are expecting that all types of aircraft both civil and military will be fixed at this centre shortly. State of the Art 3D Helicopter Simulator has already been inducted in BAF to ensure realistic training of our pilots.”
“We are implementing the “Forces Goal 2030″ as a part of expansion and modernization of the armed forces,” she further added.
Recalling the contribution of air force in 1971, she said, “Bangladesh Air Force was born on 28 September 1971. During that time, many civil pilots joined Air Force pilots and a special flying unit named ‘Kilo Flight’ was formed then which contributed significantly during the Liberation War.” On establishment of an aviation university, the premier said, “We passed a bill in the parliament on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Aviation and Aerospace University on 28 February 2019.”
“We are going to establish the university in Lalmonirhat with a goal to develop skilled human resources in aviation sector…this institute will start its world class academic function shortly,” she added.
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