High Altitude

June 28, 2006 (LBO) – SriLankan Airlines said Wednesday group net profit in the year to March rose nearly 50 percent annually to 2.04 billion rupees over 62.49 billion rupees in revenues, amidst soaring fuel costs and stiff competition. For the financial year ended March, the carrier’s net profits rose to 797.93 million rupees over 7.66 million rupees, the airline said in a statement.

“This was yet another challenging year for the Group. While we are still recovering from the devastating effects of the tsunami, we faced new challenges such as the drastic rise of jet fuel prices and the deteriorating security situation in the country which significantly affected our business,” SriLankans’ Chairman Harry Jayawardena said.

The carrier said fuel expenses’ share of its total outlays rose to 39.73 percent in the year to March 2006 because of volatile world oil prices.

During the period under review, average fuel prices rose 33.58 percent, while the airline also consumed 4.68 percent more fuel to meet its network expansion.

“In real terms, an increase of one 0.01 U.S cent per gallon translates into an added expenditure of 1-million dollars per annum for SriLankan,” the statement said.

The national flag carrier said it