Love for Airbus in Bangladeshi Aviation is growing in the recent years as the south Asian country’s aviation sector booms.
In 2021, Bangladesh had a gross domestic product (GDP) of $416 billion, Vietnam‘s GDP was $366 billion, and the Philippines‘ GDP stood at $394 billion. Bangladesh’s population was 169 million, with 7.5 million emigrants, Vietnam had a population of 97 million with 3.4 million emigrants, and the Philippines had a population of 114 million with 6.1 million emigrants.
In contrast of the demographics, the aviation sector in Bangladesh had a relatively smaller fleet, comprising 36 aircraft, of which only 10 were wide-bodied. Vietnam, on the other hand, boasted a larger fleet of 187 aircraft, including 35 wide-bodied planes, while the Philippines had 172 aircraft, with 29 wide-bodied ones.
Despite these differences, the demand for international travel in Bangladesh has been on the rise. This increase is attributed to factors such as the growing number of migrant workers, non-resident Bangladeshis, and the expansion of the upper-middle-class. According to a report from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), the country’s airports handled 9.63 million international passengers in 2022, marking a significant increase from the 8.59 million passengers in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the country.
Projections show the number will grow everyday doubling by 2031 in Bangladesh.
However, the most of Bangladeshi traffic is being handled by foreign carriers.
Airbus in Bangladeshi Aviation: Plans and Visions
Morad Bourouffala, Airbus chief representative in Bangladesh, expressed the belief that Bangladesh’s aviation market is underutilized during a visit to Airbus’s A350 assembly line in Toulouse, France, which is considered Europe’s aerospace capital due to Airbus’s headquarters being based there.
The Bangladesh government’s vision for a “Smart Bangladesh” by 2041 includes plans to enhance its aviation sector. Notably, a modern international terminal was recently constructed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Additionally, in May, Bangladesh signed a joint communique with Airbus to increase the presence of Airbus in Bangladeshi aviation, the largest European aircraft manufacturer, to establish a partnership in the aviation sector.
“The future of Bangladeshi aviation starts in Toulouse,” Juan Camilo Rodríguez, widebody market development manager at Airbus, said. “We pioneer sustainable aerospace for a safe and united world.”
During his inaugural visit to Bangladesh in September, French President Emmanuel Macron extended his appreciation to the country for maintaining its trust in Airbus. This expression of trust was evident as Dhaka expressed its interest in procuring 10 wide-bodied A350 Airbus in Bangladeshi aviation, two of which were designated for freight. Wide-bodied aircraft, characterized by two passenger aisles and the capacity to accommodate seven or more seats in a single row, are a significant component of this aviation deal.
Over the next 20 years, there will be a global demand for over 40,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft, with the Asia Pacific region, excluding China, requiring 9,500 new aircraft, including 2,000 wide-bodied ones, from 2023 to 2042. This demand also necessitates 131,000 new pilots, 144,000 technicians, and 208,000 cabin crews. Airbus aims to help meet these needs and views Bangladesh as a promising aviation market, with its economy ranking 34th globally and significant growth potential.
Morad Bourouffala emphasizes he sees its engagement of Airbus in Bangladeshi aviation as a partnership, not just a transaction, and envisions the country becoming an aviation destination.
Presence of Airbus in Bangladeshi Aviation
Airbus has been actively involved in Bangladesh’s aviation sector, with its A350 aircraft making significant contributions to the country. Over the last decade, Airbus has delivered 552 A350 aircraft that operate on 1,071 routes globally, even impacting airlines in countries like Qatar, Singapore, and India. India’s IndiGo recently made a record-breaking order of 500 A320 family aircraft.
Airbus is partnering with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Aviation and Aerospace University in Bangladesh to provide pilot training and maintenance engineering skills.
While the American corporation Boeing currently supplies wide-body aircraft to Bangladesh, Airbus’s more fuel-efficient and versatile options are gaining traction. Airbus sees Bangladesh as a potential aviation hub due to its strategic location and passenger flow.
Their aircraft, including the A350, are known for their efficiency and ease of operation, making them attractive to Bangladeshi airlines. Airbus is continuously improving its A350 aircraft, enhancing performance and reducing emissions. It’s worth noting that Airbus is a global company with business operations across the world, founded by four countries: France, Germany, Spain, and the UK – hence massively increasing the presence of Airbus in Bangladeshi aviation in South Asian country.