The government removed Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal as the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer of national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines on 13 July, just 16 months after his appointment.
Soon after his appointment on 23 February 2021, Abu Saleh Mostafa, who also served as Cabinet Division's additional secretary, had been embroiled in controversy over allegations of irregularities.
According to media reports, a Biman top official, who looked after the airliner's sales and marketing, was found involved in corruption regarding ticket sales in an investigation by the civil aviation ministry.
Read more - Biman top men were into graft, new MD pardoned them all
Another official in the airline's accounts department was also believed to have been associated with corrupt practices with travel agents regarding ticket sales and making illegal income. Besides, the person, who was supposed to control Biman's flow of finance, deposited the pension fund of the airliner with a private bank that ultimately lost its capacity to pay back depositors' money leading to loss to the airline.
They along with 40 other Biman officials against whom serious corruption charges were proven were either dismissed or suspended from their jobs.
However, Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal pardoned them all and even reinstated those officials after he was appointed as Biman MD.
The immediate result of Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal's actions was a fall in Biman's performance. The errant officials had stopped its online ticket sales reverting back to the old corrupt practice of offline purchases.
Biman's income in April dipped by Tk200 crore despite a good passenger load factor, leading to another investigation by Biman itself about what led to this dive.
The airline's on-time flight performance has faltered. Biman had improved its flight departures to over 80% beyond the international standard in the year 2019 and continued till 2020. With Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal's in the chair, it had slumped back to 56%.
Besides, he had been embroiled in controversy over recruitment of some pilots for the Boeing-777 fleet.
Biman recruited 14 pilots, including first officers and captains amid allegations of violating its own recruitment policy during Abu Saleh's term. The Prime Minister's Office in a letter asked the ministry of civil aviation to investigate the irregularities in pilot recruitment.
During his tenure, the national flag carrier announced its Dhaka-Toronto flight with an hour stopover in Istanbul. However, Abu Saleh could not elaborate how the flight on the route would be made profitable in the long run when major foreign airlines are offering low-cost flights.
Recently, poor oversight of Biman led to damage to some aircraft at Dhaka airport.
In the latest move, the government transferred Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal to the department of social services and appointed Zahid Hossain as the new managing director of Biman on 13 July.
Abu Saleh is performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia currently. He is scheduled to return next week.