SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, will add three new routes to its scheduled operations in India by July this year. The new cities to join the SriLankan route network are Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore.
With the opening of these new routes, the weekly frequencies of SriLankan between India and Colombo will go up from the present 107 to 130. Besides these, the airline is also keen to increase their existing frequencies to metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a function which the airline organised to honour trade partners here in Delhi, Siva Ramachandran, Chief Commercial Officer of SriLankan Airlines, said that they have had substantial growth in traffic in recent years and see potential for further growth. “Our overall load factor on Indian routes is close to 80%. While on some routes it is close to 90%, it is not less than 70% on any of the Indian routes,” he said.
The new fleet acquisition will help the airline in its route expansion in coming months, said Ramachandran. SriLankan has added new Airbus 320neo aircraft into its fleet early this month and another one will be joining by month end. By July, two more A-321neo’s will be inducted into their fleet, he added.
Besides the new routes to India, SriLankan will also start operations to Melbourne in Australia towards the last quarter of this year.
When asked about the stake-sale in the airline by the Sri Lankan government, the airline CCO said that the government is well on its way on “partially privatizing” the carrier with 49% private stake and 100% management rights. From the bidding process, an American investment company has been shortlisted. “We expect the process to be completed by the last quarter of this year,” he said.
The airline is also in the process of delinking the MRO business and converting it into a “separate business,” as part of MRO business expansion. “We have the expertise and skilled technical expertise to expand that business,” he said, adding, “We only needs more hangar space.”