“This marks the beginning of our plans for diversifying our aircraft portfolio and increasing the appeal to both Sri Lankan and international passengers”.
The A330-300 powered by twin Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines known for its proven passenger appeal and fuel efficiency is one of the most widely used wide body aircraft in service today an official said.
SriLankan Airlines CEO Kapila Chandrasena considers fleet renewal as a key component in the national carrier’s initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
“SriLankan aims to gradually improve revenues and yields as we go for re fleeting,” said Chandrasena.
“We further able to meet our future capacity requirements with the delivery of the new generation A350-900 wide body aircraft.
Moreover, the operational commonality of Airbus aircraft permits airline to use the same pool of pilots, engineering personnel and cabin crews bringing about operational flexibility, accruing significant cost savings.”
The gradual phase-out over the next two years of its older wide body aircraft which are to be replaced by new the A330-300s and A350s is a step in that direction.
Affording optimum levels of comfort in the aircraft cabin, the airline will configure its layout seating 297 passengers in two classes accommodating 28 in Business Class and 269 in Economy.The new A330-300 (registration 4R-ALL) is to be utilised on the major Far East markets of Tokyo and Guangzhou in China with four flights per week to each destination by this December.
The Airline has embarked on a fleet renewal programme that will replace the older, wide-bodied aircraft with more fuel-efficient and maintenance cost friendly models from Airbus.
“In 2001, LTTE carder attacked the Bandaranayake International Airport and destroyed half of our SriLankan fleet,” Wickremasinghe said.
“In that time we were operating 12 air crafts,” “So with the competition SriLankan needed to upgrade our aircraft to compete with our sister airlines to pave the way to attract more tourists and give them an exclusive experience.”
In order to replace the wide-body fleet, in June 2013, the company entered into an agreement with Airbus Industries to take delivery of six A330-300 and four A350-900 aircraft for delivery between 2014-2021 and also entered into a lease agreement to take delivery of further three new A350-900 aircraft in 2016.
To make it a reality, the Government of Sri Lanka has pledged a capital infusion of 500 US dollars to SriLankan airline.
The airline is to take delivery of its second A330-300 by the end of this year, with the balance five aircraft to be inducted periodically throughout the year 2015.
The airline will also be acquiring eight A350-900s with SriLankan achieving a milestone being the first airline in South Asia to acquire this new generation of aircraft, with three due to be delivered in 2016 and a fourth in 2017.
The balance A350s are to be inducted to the airlines’ fleet by 2020.
However SriLankan Airlines made a loss of 28.6 billion rupees and state-run budget airline Mihin Lanka made another loss of 1.5 billion rupees in 2013 up from a billion rupees a year earlier the annual report of the Central Bank showed.
In 2013 revenues had risen 2.9 percent to 109.5 billion rupees but operating expenses had gone up 5.1 percent to 138.1 billion rupees.
SriLankan last made profits in 2008, and has been racking up losses since a management deal with Dubai-based Emirates ended.
Over the past five years the two state airlines had made operational losses of 89.9 billion rupees, according to Central Bank data.
This year's losses of the two state airlines are 1,475 rupees for every man, woman and child in Sri Lanka.
SriLankan is due to commence flights later this year to Kunming, making it the fifth destination that the carrier operates to in China alongside a weekly charter flight to Chongqing.
The airline is also evaluating possible destinations in Africa and Australia in 2015.