Sri Lanka needs out of the box thinking to face airline industry challenges: SriLankan CEO

innovation

June 3, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state run airline needs to think out of the box to keep up with rapidly changing industry trends, the new Chief Executive of the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines said.

“Discerning customer expectations have started revolving around the unique and innovative airline and aviation related products that service-providers have to offer,” APOT.Asia Chairman and SriLankan Airlines CEO Rakitha Jayawardena said.

“As a result, we feel the need to be on constant alert to take advantage of the novelties that conquer the industry.”

“This is the reason why you see many international airlines introducing various innovations in their line-up of inflight products and services.”

He was addressing the Asia Pacific On-board Travel Forum held in Sri Lanka recently.

Jayawardena said, that today’s traveller is always looking for an experience and the airline should be capable of delivering it.

“From mood-scanning blankets to signature dishes by celebrity chefs or digital baggage tags; all these are utilized by airlines in a concerted effort to be in the forefront of this competitive and highly volatile industry,” Jayawardena said.

“For instance, an on-board meal is not just a meal anymore; it is an experience in itself that passengers look forward to,”

“From the choice of menus, food presentation to simple things such as the food packaging—all of these factors matter if you are aiming to create a lasting impression on the passenger.”

Added to that, Jayawardena says, the traveller today is also always connected and active on social media no matter what time of the day or night.

“Airlines have been quick to recognise such passenger preferences and adjust their service strategies accordingly, focussing on optimum comfort levels when selecting products and services that help maintain the highest industry standards while creating that unique sense of individuality.”

SriLankan Airline’s net losses increased by 24 percent in 2014 amounting to 32.4 billion rupees, data showed. The carrier incurred a loss of 26.1 billion rupees in 2013.

According to the report the loss was attributable to an increase in aircraft maintenance and overhaul costs mainly caused by mandatory aircraft modifications and expenses related to return of aircraft, which amounted to 2 billion rupees, as well as an escalation in finance expenses which amounted to 6.2 billion rupees compared to 3.14 billion rupees in the previous year.

The new rulers called a report on the airline which was presented to the parliament recently, but inside sources told LBO that no action have been taken so far.