SriLankan Airlines expects late delivery of A350 Airbus’ due to financial crisis
Debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines, bidding farewell to its last and the oldest A340-300 aircraft which has been in operation for more than two decades in the fleet, says it is delaying the delivery of an order of eight A350-900 aircrafts from Airbus until its acute financial position is sorted out. In view of the financial situation, the delivery of the eight A350-900 aircrafts will take longer than planned, said Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines.
Mr. Ratwatte made these comments to the Business Times on the sidelines of the farewell ceremony of the last A340-300 flight when it touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport from Chennai at 11.25 am on Thursday, last week. Adding to that, he said, “We are in discussions to delay the delivery of these eight aircraft in view of the financial stability of the airline.” It was also mentioned at the farewell ceremony that A330-300 aircrafts consume less fuel, more passenger capacity and can to travel longer distances whereas in A340-300 aircrafts, it’s the other way round.
SriLankan Airlines introduced the A340-300 in 1994 at the time when it was the most sophisticated aircraft manufactured by Airbus. Over a 21-year period a total of seven A340s have served the airline and were for many years the mainstay of its long haul fleet. Also the airline has inducted a brand new fleet of seven A330-300 aircrafts which offer the latest comforts and technology.
At that time A340s were introduced to replace SriLankan Airlines’ aging fleet of Lockheed L1011 Tristars when twin-engine aircraft did not quite have the range to fly non-stop from Colombo to Sri Lanka’s farthest destinations such as London and Tokyo. The A340s had a range of over 13,000 kilometers and could carry nearly 300 passengers. As engine technology improved over the years, the twin engine A330s began to operate on these routes replacing the A340s which have a higher fuel consumption due to having four engines versus two.