March 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines will lease a short-haul aircraft to Mihin Air, a state-run budget carrier, at a below market rate, after extending the dry lease of one of its own aircraft, an official said. Mihin Air is now operating with a single aircraft after it was resurrected with a fresh handout set aside in the 2009 budget. The aircraft is wet-leased for three months at high cost with flying crew and maintenance.
“It is likely that once the current wet-lease of Mihin is over that Srilankan would be able to provide them with a wet-leased aircraft at a price advantage of the external market,” SriLankan chief Manoj Gunewardena said.
“How we could do that is because the crew is based in Sri Lanka. Crew holding costs do not occur.”
SriLankan is replacing its ageing Airbus A320 short haul fleet with newer aircraft. One newly acquired A320 aircraft is already in service and the next is due to come online after final checks.
Gunewardena says SriLankan is about to finalize the lease on yet another A320 aircraft.
The lease of one of the A320 aircraft is expiring in April.
“We have some aircraft which are due to be re-delivered to the lessor,” says Gunewardena.