MIAMI — With the final DC-10 having returned back to its home base in Dhaka, Bangladesh several weeks ago, it is likely facing the next step in its life: the scrapyard. There is a good, though not guaranteed, chance that the airplane wind up at Biman’s own mini facility.
Located at its Dhaka hub, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the tiny collection is a reflection of the several different types of airplane the carrier has operated over recent years. We were offered a tour during our visit last month, and this is what we found.
First up is the F-28 Fellowship. Biman purchased its first of the regional jet directly from the Dutch manufacturer in 1981. The small airplane ran primarily domestic runs between the capitol city of Dhaka and the southern port city of Chittagong with a capacity for 80 passengers. The carrier eventually added and cycled through several more by the time the aircraft exited the fleet in 2012. They were replaced by the Boeing 737.
Biman received its first Airbus A310 in June of 1996, registration S2-ADE. The carrier has had six of the stubby wide-body jets pass through since. Each was outfitted in a dual class cabin, split between business in 2-3-2 and economy in 2-4-2 configurations with an average of 222 total passengers.
Of the six that have passed in and out, only two remain with the carrier. One was delivered from Airbus in 1996, while the other was acquired from Iberworld in 2003. Of the other four, two were sold to new carriers, while another is in storage in Dubai following a nose gear collapse in 2007 that has yet to be repaired.
The last of the six, S2-AFT, is located here in Biman’s scrapyard. It began with Balair in 1992, moving on to Oman Air and Air Plus before coming to Biman in 2010. As you can see, it has been thoroughly poached of anything of value long ago. It is presently used for storage space and spare parts.
McDonnell Douglas DC-10
By this point most of our regular readers are likely quite familiar with Biman’s DC-10s, or at least the last one: S2-ACR. Of course ACR was delivered in 1988, the penultimate DC-10 off the line. But the carrier began operating the type several years earlier in 1983, when it received three of the airplanes from Singapore Airlines. The carrier operated eight of the tri-jets at one point or another between 1983 and the aircraft’s retirement in February, 2014. They were replaced by new Boeing 777-300 aircraft, starting in 2011.
Biman’s scrapyard is host to S2-ACQ at the time we visited, one of the original three acquired in 1983. It was retired in 2013 to be used for spare parts to support S2-ACR. Two other Biman DC-10s, one of which is seen in the bottom right photo, reside in a another scrapyard nearby.
Of course these are not the only airplane types Biman operated since it began flying in 1972. The carrier has also regularly operated Fokker 27 turboprops and BAe ATps for regional routes, while using Boeing 707s for international service. A rotating cast of other airliners came in and out of the fleet for short periods of time including the Douglas DC-3 and -6, Boeing 737-300, and even Boeing 747s for charter flights.