Sri Lanka state carrier may acquire six Boeing-777s

Aug 20, 2011 (LBO) – State-run Sri Lankan Airlines will boost its fleet to 28 aircraft over the next four years, which may also include up to six Boeing 777 long haul jets, officials said, as tourist arrivals soar after the end of a civil war. SriLankan Airline aircrew is now trained for Airbus aircraft.

A new type means fresh training for flight crews, technicians and investments in spares.

The state has committed 500 million dollars in taxpayer money as equity to fix the airline over the next five years for the airline which has posted a string of losses. The government will also give sovereign guarantees for the airline to borrow.

The first 100 million dollars cash injection is expected in 2012 after next year’s budget is passed by parliament.

Critical Mass

The airline plans to boost its fleet to 28 over the next four years, as part of a five year strategy started in 2010 to double its fleet while keeping is fixed overheads and support facilities the same.

“We have to re-align our costs,” Jeyaseelan said. “We do not have the critical mass. So we have to grow.”

But prospects are now brighter with tourist arrivals picking up after a civil war ended in May 2009.

Tourist arrivals to Sri La