SriLankan Airlines take delivery of new A320

Saturday, 18 December 2010 01:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SriLankan Airlines took delivery of yet another Airbus A320 aircraft, as it continues to expand its global route network to serve the needs of the country’s booming travel and tourism industries.

The Airline plans to acquire five more aircraft by the end of 2011, three of which would be the first brand new ones in 11 years. The newest arrival swells SriLankan’s fleet to 15 aircraft – four A320’s, five A330’s, five A340’s, and a De Havilland Twin Otter.

The national carrier said the Government of Sri Lanka has identified the Tourism Industry as a main catalyst of the country’s economic growth, and President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his budget speech last week made special mention of the contribution of the country’s Aviation Industry and the role to be played by SriLankan Airlines.

Just a few months ago, SriLankan unveiled extensive plans for expansion which include the launch of services to Guangzhou (Canton) in China in January and other new destinations; the re-launch of its domestic service SriLankan Air Taxi; upgrading of its Business Class cabins with luxurious Flat Bed Seating and the latest AVOD (Audio Video On Demand) entertainment system; and the construction of a Full Flight Simulator for training A320 pilots at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

With the addition of Guangzhou and Kochi, SriLankan’s global route network will serve 51 cities in 31 countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Subcontinent, and the Far East.

This is the sixth aircraft to be acquired since the National Carrier’s management changed hands two and a half years ago, and the third in the last five months.

The next aircraft, also an A320, is expected to be acquired in the first quarter of 2011.

The A320 will join the narrow-body fleet serving the Subcontinent region, where SriLankan has already announced plans to re-launch its services to the southern Indian city of Kochi next March. This would be the airline’s seventh destination in India, to which SriLankan greatly increased its number of frequencies with effect from the Winter 2010 season. India is the island’s largest tourism market, with nearly 100,000 visitors in the first 10 months of 2010, an increase of 50% over the same period in the previous year.

The new aircraft, which arrived on 6th December, will undergo some modifications to its interior in SriLankan’s aircraft engineering facilities at BIA and join the fleet within a few days.