SriLankan cargo to expand operations, mulls wet leasing freighter


Apr 05, 2017 (LBO) –  SriLankan airlines says that cargo volumes are growing and they see a greater demand in the future especially in the Indian subcontinent and China following route closures in Europe.

“Today we see over 3 trillion US dollars of e-commerce business is going out of China. We are looking at taking a slice of this business through a separate cargo aircraft on a lease and several synergies,” Chamara Ranasinghe, head of SriLankan Airlines’ Cargo said.

“We are also looking at ways to bring back the revenue that was lost due to the pull out of Frankfurt and Paris. We want to re-capture this through code share agreements with other airlines up to the Middle East and then connect to our network.”

SriLankan Cargo handles cargo of all airlines that operate to Sri Lanka’s main international airport, including imports, exports and trans-shipments.

The total in 2016 included 39,842 tonnes of trans-shipment cargo, an increase over the 35,877 tonnes handled an year earlier.

During 2016 SriLankan Cargo also set a new record for cargo handled in a single-month at Bandaranayake International Airport with 21,743 tonnes in the month of March, which surpassed the previous high of 20,040 tonnes in March 2015.

When queried about losses due to the daytime shutdown of the airport, Ranasinghe said that it was mainly due to not being able to make the network connections.

“The losses suffered by the Cargo Department due to the airport closure will be between 8 to 10 million US dollars,” he said.

“This was mainly because of not being able to meet the required network connections due to flights not operating in the mornings. However, we did 75 percent of the cargo was transported.”

Speaking about the airlines future plans he said that they are working on getting their own cargo terminal to increase efficiency.

“Cargo is a key area in the national carrier and we contribute around 11 percent to the overall revenue of Sri Lankan. Our target is to increase this to 15 percent soon.”

“However infrastructure at BIA needs to be improved to ensure a better service as there is congestion in the terminals and discussions are on going on getting our own terminal.”

Once the airport expansion plans are reveled later this month we will have a clear picture, he added.

SriLankan Cargo operates to all of SriLankan Airlines’ 101 destinations in 47 countries.