SriLankan on break even path
SriLankan Airlines can financially break even by 2014 predicted,
Chief Operating Officer, SriLankan Airlines, T. Jayaseelan. A stalwart
in the aviation sector with over 20 years experience in the trade ,
Jayaseelan said that the airline is on a five year recovery plan and
should look at making profits by 2015.
He said that for the last three years no major reinvestment was done
by the previous management which made the present airline management’s
overheads rise. Jayaseelan said that due to this they had to make heavy
investments to keep the airline afloat. The fleet of aircraft too were
old and the present management was compelled to get new aircraft. Today
this had been successfully carried out and the average age of SriLankan
aircraft are 10 years.
Chief Operating Officer, SriLankan Airlines, T Jayaseelan,
Chairman SriLankan, Nishantha Wickramasinghe at a business
meeting at the recently concluded ITB in Berlin.
Picture by Shirajiv Sirimane
This is an ongoing exercise and SriLankan’s aim is to further reduce
the aircraft fleet age to five years in five years time. The national
carrier today accounts to 12 wide bodied aircraft and seven A320’s. He
said that the practice of purchasing new planes was discontinued because
such a move was disadvantages when going for new versions. Due to this
all SriLankan aircraft have been obtained on lease giving the airline
the option to change the aircraft at any time.
He also said globally the airline industry is facing a crisis mainly
due to the escalating oil prices and also the economic crunch in Europe
which had limited air travel.
Commenting on their future plans he said that they are focusing on
frequency increase rather than adding more destinations. The airline is
aiming to be a strong player in the current destinations that it
operates. ‘Our aim is to have a minimum daily frequency to all
destinations and would also look at more code sharing agreements,’ he
Sister airline Mihin may look at some new destinations in India and
would consider adding Manila to their network.
‘Currently the Indonesia and Decca operations are very successful and
the airline is looking at a third aircraft,’ he said. He ruled out the
possibility of flying to both Singapore and Bangkok in the near future.
Asked to comment on Sri Lanka’s second international airport built at
Mattala he said that SriLankan would have a major role to play there. A
connection between Colombo to Mattala and back and a stop over in either
Colombo or Mattala is very much on the cards. Tourists would definitely
have the opportunity to start their tour from Colombo and get back to
their final destination from Mattala. (or vise versa).
He said that they are keen in engineering, (MRO) training. 'We would
definitely look at an international partnership mainly to cut down on
investments and then also to help bring in foreign exchange to the
country. He said that budget airlines are not a threat to the airline
since they cater to a different segment. 'Some times budget airlines
help to create and stimulate new markets,’ he said.
SriLankan airlines is also expected to receive a major financial
injection when it obtains a Rs.20 billion loan from a bank in the United
Arab Emirate to settle its outstanding bills.