Flight Plan

Chandi Dharmaratne

SINGAPORE, September 16, 2006 (LBO) – SriLankan Airlines plans to take ownership of three aircraft currently under lease and extend the lifespan on two others that come up for renewal next year, its chief financial officer said Saturday. We are in the last stages of paying up the lease on three aircraft, with two A340s coming into our ownership in October. Another A340 will be paid for in full next March,” Vipula Gunatilleka told LBO in an interview here.

The airline, which is 43.63 percent owned by Dubai’s Emirates, has a fleet comprising:
• Five Airbus A340s
• Four Airbus A330-200
• Five Airbus A320-200
• Two Antonov AN12F freighters
• Two Turbo Otters

The national carrier is also process of fine tuning its business plans for the coming year, to hedge against future oil spikes and other ongoing activities including the lease on two A320s that run out next February.

Much of the plans, however, depend on the government’s decision to extend Emirates’ contract when it runs out in 2008.

Both sides have had few rounds of discussions, with nothing firmed up yet. With a 51.05 percent equity stake, the government is not too keen that the national carrier enters into big business d