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SriLankan Airlines to acquire seven new aircraft by 2011-end – The Economic Times

[MISC, Monday, 18 October 2010 09:41 No Comment]

National carrier SriLankan Airlines today said it will soon acquire its first brand of new aircraft in more than a decade among the seven aircraft it plans to take delivery of by 2011-end.

They include five Airbus A320′s, including three brand new aircraft, and two Twin Otter float planes.

"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," SriLankan’s CEO Manoj Gunawardena today said.

He said this would allow the airlines to significantly enhance the passenger service. "This will 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," he today said in a statement.

The last time Sri Lanka’s National Carrier took delivery of a brand new aircraft was in June 2000, when it received the last of six A330-200′s.

The three brand new aircraft are scheduled to be acquired 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," he said. 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, Gunawardena said.

"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," he said.

Sri Lanka’s national carrier began a re-fleeting programme shortly after its management changed hands (when Government got the controlling stakes) 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.

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