Dhaka commits to buy 10 planes from Airbus

Speaking at the briefing, Hasina said, "We both hope that this new strategic move between Bangladesh and France will play an effective role in establishing regional and global stability and peace.


France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) speaks as Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina looks on during the ceremony of signing bilateral agreements at the Prime Minister's office in Dhaka on September 11, 2023. PHOTO: AFP/ THE DAILY STAR

September 12, 2023

DHAKA – Bangladesh has committed to buying 10 new A350 airplanes from Airbus, a multinational aerospace corporation, as the two countries forge a new strategic partnership.

“I thank you for your trust in the European aerospace industry. And this commitment for 10 Airbus A350 is important,” Macron yesterday said at a joint media briefing after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka.

Speaking at the briefing, Hasina said, “We both hope that this new strategic move between Bangladesh and France will play an effective role in establishing regional and global stability and peace.”

The two countries also signed a letter of intent for space partnership between Airbus and Bangladesh Satellite Company Ltd. The letter includes a clause about buying the Bangabandhu-2 Earth Observation Satellite System. Bangladesh’s first satellite Bangabandhu-1 was also manufactured by a French company.

Besides, a credit facility agreement was also signed with Agence Française de Développement, under which France will provide €184 million to support urban governance and infrastructural development in Bangladesh.

According to a Reuters report, French officials said the deal for the Airbus flagship A350 planes, which is still being finalised, is with the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

Merci à vous, Première ministre Sheikh Hasina, ainsi qu’aux Bangladaises et Bangladais, pour votre accueil si chaleureux.

Notre amitié est historique et indéfectible. pic.twitter.com/5YYyzdWxVN

Biman’s current fleet comprises of six Boeing 737-800s, four 777-300ERs, four 787-8s, two 787-9s, and five short-haul De Havilland Canada Dash-8 400s.

The initial order would be for two Airbus planes, the Reuters report quoted State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali as saying.

“We have asked for 10 aircraft in phases. The technical committee is now evaluating. These aircraft will be used on new and old routes. Each country has Airbus and Boeing in its fleet. But we only have Boeing, not a single Airbus.”

After attending the G20 summit in New Delhi, Macron arrived in Dhaka on Sunday evening at the invitation of Hasina, who had visited Paris in November 2021. He attended the official banquet hosted by the Bangladeshi premier at Hotel InterContinental.

Yesterday morning, Macron visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi to pay homage to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Later, he attended the meeting with Hasina and left Dhaka at 2:45pm, ending his 19-hour trip.

Macron and Hasina recalled the Letter of Intent on Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence signed between the two governments during Hasina’s visit to France in November 2021, according to a joint statement issued after the meeting between Hasina and Macron.

They also stated their willingness to step up defence cooperation, with a focus on naval, air and terrestrial capacity, including transfer of technology, in support of Bangladesh’s strategic autonomy, reads the statement.

Both countries condemned the unconstitutional change of government and unlawful military takeover in any country, and called for urgent and unimpeded humanitarian assistance for those displaced due to conflicts, violence and atrocious crimes.

“Bangladesh and France regard sovereignty and strategic autonomy as key principles for a stable, multi-polar world. Both countries therefore welcome enhanced cooperation in strategic sectors,” reads the joint statement.

France and Bangladesh reiterated their commitment to territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations, and affirmed that the war in Ukraine constitutes a violation of international law and a serious threat to the rules-based international order.

Both countries expressed commitment to keep their respective regions free of illegal trafficking and illicit fishing, as well as favouring freedom of trade and navigation, says the statement.

France agreed to continue supporting Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries through the Loss and Damage initiative and other global forums in addressing climate-change fallout.

According to the statement, both countries expressed interest in expanding bilateral trade and investment in resilient infrastructural development in the railway sector. Current bilateral trade between the two countries stands at €4.9 billion.

France stressed the need for implementing Bangladesh’s National Action Plan on the Labour Sector and diversification of its economy for smooth transition under the GSP of EU.

The two countries reiterated their commitment to prioritise the Rohingya repatriation issue in international forums. France agreed to intervene in the Rohingya genocide case before the International Court of Justice while also announcing one million euros as humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas.

“The prime minister of Bangladesh and the president of France agreed to work towards taking the partnership for peace, prosperity and people to a strategic level,” reads the statement.

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