Sri Lanka national carrier boosts fleet

May 04, 2011 (LBO) – SriLankan Airlines, the island’s state-run national carrier is boosting its short haul fleet to more closely fit the needs of its regional routes, with four new Airbus A320 aircraft ordered on operating leases, an official said. “There is an imbalance in the requirement for narrow body aircraft,” chief executive officer Manoj Gunawardena said.

“We need a lot more narrow body aircraft so that we can consolidate (traffic) and fill long haul flights.”

SriLankan has ordered four brand new Airbus A320 aircraft which are due on May 18, in September and October 2010 and April 2012, Gunawardena said.

SriLankan now operates 15 large airliners (five A320s, five A330s, five A340s) and two De Havilland Twin Otter floatplanes.

Sri Lanka has a wide regional presence, especially serving Indian cities, with Colombo used as a hub. Indian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are also rising after the end of a 30-year war.

Gunewardene said serving short destinations with large four-engined aircraft increased maintenance costs due to multiple landings and take-offs.

The Airbus list price for an A320 this year is 85 million US dollars.

Gunawardena said three aircraft are leased from US-based Air Lease Corporat