SriLankan Airlines to keep ground handling, catering monopoly: official

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

July 23, 2010 (LBO) – SriLankan Airlines is to maintain its monopoly on ground handling and catering at the island’s international airport which are its main money spinners, a senior official said. Wickremasinghe said the airline’s finances were improving after it suffered an almost 10-billion-rupee loss in the 2009 financial year.

He spoke at the island’s international airport at Katunayake north of Colombo earlier this week when the airline took delivery of its latest leased A330-200 wide-bodied aircraft.

The national carrier now has 13 Airbus aircraft – five A340s, five A330s and three A320s – and aims to double its fleet and add new destinations.

It also operates a twin-engine Boeing 767-300ER (extended range) for long-haul flights on ‘wet lease’ with crew and engineers for two months ending in September currently operating on the Rome-Milan sectors.

SriLankan Airlines group lost 9.99 billion rupees in the year to March 2009, down from a profit of 4.9 billion rupees a year earlier as revenue fell amid a global downturn and falling tourism arrivals in Sri Lanka.

But tourism in the island picked up with the end of its 30-yea ethnic war in May 2009 and an influx of arrival