Biman Recruitment Anomalies: Appointments of 9 pilots cancelled
Appointments of nine pilots to Biman have been cancelled due to irregularities in the recruitment process, State Minister for Civil Aviation M Mahbub Ali said yesterday.
"Several newspapers reported on irregularities and nepotism in the recruitment. The incident has been investigated to the highest level by various agencies. Our ministry probed it. Biman also carried out investigation," he said.
"Of those selected initially, nine have been left out," the state minister said while addressing a dialogue with Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum at the Secretariat's media centre.
In February, Biman recruited 14 pilots for the four Boeing 777s in its fleet amid allegations of violating its recruitment policy. Eight of them are captains and six are first officers, several pilots had told The Daily Star.
In response to a query, Mahbub Ali said several pilots, who were recruited in February, are currently training abroad. After they return, report against them will be reviewed and a decision will be made regarding their recruitment.
He did not clarify if any of the nine dropped were among those training abroad.
"This is the last information I have. The final decision on them will be made after their performance training."
If the allegations against those who were in-charge of the initial stage of recruitment process were proved, they would face disciplinary action, he added.
In April, the Prime Minister's Office wrote to the civil aviation ministry to investigate the "irregularities".
The ministry then asked Biman to probe the recruitment of "controversial" and "underqualified" pilots and co-pilots.
After having a probe carried out, the PMO in a report said instead of considering Biman's eligible pilots, the national flag carrier recruited pilots who failed to get promoted to captain in foreign carriers due to their poor performance.
In November last year, Biman published a circular for the appointment of captains and first officers. The 14 pilots were recruited violating specific conditions mentioned in the job circular, the PMO report said.
According to the report, of the eight recruited captains, only two had the minimum flying hours specified in the circular.
The report also said the first officers recruited were not skilled or efficient enough.
"Flights operated by the recently recruited incompetent pilots might be at risk of accidents," it claimed.
Meanwhile, allegations of nepotism have surfaced over the appointment of Sadia Ahmed as first officer for a Boeing 777.
Sadia, who was fired by US-Bangla Airlines and Regent Airlines due to inefficiency and other shortcomings, is the wife of Captain Sazid Ahmed -- a member of the recruitment committee.
The PMO report said Sazid might have played a key role in the recruitment of his wife by relaxing the prerequisites.
In a letter to the Biman MD and CEO, the Bangladesh Airlines Pilot Association recently demanded that the authorities thoroughly investigate the "irregularities" in the recruitment.
"The recruitment could have been done within the legal and ethical framework, which would have best suited for the airlines and its pilots. But the way recruitment was done has seriously tarnished the image of the national flag carrier and the pilot community. We, the pilot community, are not ready to take any responsibility for the misdeeds of any individual."