SriLankan Airlines said yesterday it will acquire its first brand new aircraft in more than a decade, among the seven aircraft it plans to take delivery of by the end of 2011. They include five Airbus A320’s, including three brand new aircraft, and two Twin Otter floatplanes.
SriLankan’s CEO Manoj Gunawardena said: “We will be celebrating an important new chapter in the history of SriLankan Airlines with the arrival of this large number of aircraft within a short period. They will allow SriLankan to significantly enhance the passenger experience on board our flights, give us the ability to fly to more cities in the Subcontinent, Middle East and Southeast Asia, and to also increase capacity to existing destinations in these regions.”
The last time Sri Lanka’s National Carrier took delivery of a brand new aircraft was in June of 2000, when it received the last of six A330-200’s. The three brand new aircraft are scheduled to be acquired in from May-November 2011, and will sport the latest comforts and entertainment systems including Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) in both Business and Economy Classes.
These three aircraft would be preceded by two other A320’s which are likely to arrive in December 2010 and early 2011. All five aircraft would be on operating leases at very attractive terms of monthly payments. In addition, two Twin Otters are to be acquired for the re-launch of its domestic service SriLankan Air Taxi this winter. The airline is also exploring the possibility of obtaining at least one more long-haul wide-body aircraft to launch services to more new destinations in Europe and the Far East.
“Our fleet expansion plans are constantly updated to support Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing tourism industry, while keeping in mind the financial requirements of the airline,” said SriLankan’s CEO.
Sri Lanka’s National Carrier began a re-fleeting programme shortly after its management changed hands in April 2008, acquiring three A320’s in 2008 and 2009 to replace old aircraft. A wide-body A330-200 was also added to the fleet two months ago.
These seven aircraft will join SriLankan’s fleet of 13 – three A320’s, five A330’s, and five A340’s – with a global network covering 49 cities in 31 countries. The twin-engined A320’s operate to destinations in the Subcontinent, Maldives, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Middle East, while the A330’s and A340’s operate to the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East.