SriLankan Airlines to trim Europe flights, focus on Asia, Middle East

Sept 29, 2012 (LBO) – State-run SriLankan airline will trim loss-making flights to recession-hit Europe and focus on profitable routes closer to home, top officials told shareholders, as the airline lost money for the fourth straight year. The emergence of citizen-owned budget airlines in particular had made travel cheaper to ordinary citizens starting from Europe but the trend is rapidly gathering pace in Asia.

In the year to March 2012 SriLankan lost 19 billion rupees and was bailed out with a 15.4 billion rupees capital injection from tax payers.

Chandrasena said the airline planned to push up yield by aggressively marketing its business class, expand code-share deals with other airlines and change its ‘Air Taxi’ seaplane operations to end losses.

The airline also planned to increase third party engineering services, expand ground handling and cargo. Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said due to recession in Europe and competition from other airlines yields from European destinations was less than satisfactory and benefits from cabin upgrades were yet to come.

Chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said the airline would increase frequencies and capacity to profitable routes in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and th