By Abdul H. Azeez
As summer ends and fall begins SriLankan Airlines has once again failed to capitalise on a lucrative revenue earning opportunity. There is a lot of outflow from the country as tourists leave after their vacations. Returning Sri Lankan expatriates used other airlines to enter the country as Sri Lankan doesn’t operate in lucrative locations such as Zurich, Amsterdam and Australia.
The proposed expansion reported earlier by The Sunday Leader in areas like London and Paris have not materialized. The CEO of SriLankan, Manoj Vaas Gunawardene said that operational problems have meant that ‘it is too late for us to focus on the summer traffic. All our efforts right now are geared towards expanding capacity for winter.’
Fleet additions are planned with SriLankan already acquiring a new A330 craft capable of seating 300. Gunawardene told The Sunday Leader that the airline is in the process of recruiting some 40 new pilots as well. The controversial 767 airplane that was wet leased by Sri Lankan for an exorbitant rate has been discontinued after two months of operation after customer complaints. Many people who traveled in the airplane had had bad experiences and flight crew interviewed by The Sunday Leader claimed that the plane was detrimental to the image of the airline.
The inability of SriLankan to produce profits has laid accusations of incompetency at the door of the senior management. The loss of summer traffic will surely be a blow to next year’s P&L.