As part of their fleet renewal program, the national carrier SriLankan Airlines yesterday took delivery of the new Airbus A330-300, under 12 years operating lease.This is the first of the series of seven Airbus A330-300s which SriLankan is planning to take delivery during t he next 14 months, and the second such aircraft will be added on t o its existing 23 fleet by the end of 2014.
The airline’s management took a strategic decision few years ago to gradually phase out its Airbus A340 older, wide body aircrafts and replace them with new A330-300s and A350s due to their higher fuel-efficiency and passenger appeal.“SriLankan aims to gradually improve revenues and yields as we go for re-fleeting. Our product enhancements and membership in ‘oneworld’ would contribute to these efforts.
“Our fleet renewal and route expansions are constantly aligned with the commitment to support the country’s rapidly growing tourism industry whilst keeping in mind t he financial requirements of the airline,” SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena said. SriLankan took delivery of the new aircraft day before yesterday at a ceremony held at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France after which it had a 10-hour journey before touching down at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake last morning.During the first four months of this year, SriLankan incurred an operating l oss of Rs.8.4 billion with an accumulated loss of Rs. 82 billion.
However, during the same period the national carrier was able to slightly increase its revenues by 2 percent over 2013 to Rs. 27.8 billion. The company is expected to breakeven by 2020, following the end of its re-fleeting program spanning 7 years.The flight is powered by twin Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines from Rolls Royce Limited, a leading aero-engine manufacturing company based in the United Kingdom.A330-300 has 28 business class and 269 economy class seats, and the flight is also equipped with latest i n-flight entertainment systems from France’s Thales, a global technology leader in the aerospace, transportation and defense and security markets.
The price of an Airbus A330300 is between US $ 200 million to US $ 250 million, and the exact price could differ based on the specifications, and the lessee could negotiate the lease term which usually varies from 6 to 12 years. The lease rental could be opted to pay quarterly, bi-annually or annually depending on the lease agreement.SriLankan plans to carry the growing number of tourists from Far Eastern markets as its new A330-300 will fly to Tokyo and Guangzhou in China with four flights a week starting from December.
In 2013, BIA handled 50,802 flights serving 7.3 million passengers out of which 5.2 million passengers were carried by SriLankan including in-transit passengers.Out of the total flights handled by the BIA, SriLankan and its low cost unit Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Limited account for over 50 percent.SriLankan group operates with over 10,000 employees at all levels and the airline itself has close to 5,000 staff.SriLankan is currently under a 5-year capital infusion program amounting to US $ 500 million by the government which will end in 2016.In June, the airline successfully raised Rs.175 million by way of an international bond issue at 5.3 percent that was considered to be the lowest rate achieved so far by a Sri Lankan corporate.
“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 aircraft with t hree due t o be delivered in 2016 and a fourth in 2017. The balance A350s are to be inducted to the airlines’ fleet by 2020,” the statement issued by the airline stated.