Sri Lanka’s national airline carrier records highest rise in passenger revenue

Sri Lanka’s national airline carrier records highest rise in passenger revenue

Colombo, April 16 ( – Sri Lanka’s national airline carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines on Monday said it had achieved a record annual passenger revenue of Rs. 126.9 billion (US Dollars 830.7 million) for its just ended financial year of 2017/18, the highest ever in the company’s 38 year history.

In a statement, the Airline said the revenue came as a result of the recent expansion of the airline to several new destinations such as Gan Islands, Hyderabad and Melbourne and additional frequencies to popular cities in its network.

Both passenger and cargo divisions exceeded their annual target, enabling the SriLankan Airlines Group to exceed the overall annual revenue target.

“The overall Group turnover exceeded 1 billion US Dollars, making SriLankan Airlines one of the handful of companies in Sri Lanka to reach this milestone. It also becomes the highest revenue generating company amongst all Sri Lankan businesses which publicly report their financials,” the statement said.

SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Captain Suren Ratwatte  said this is the first instance of the airline achieving its annual revenue target since Emirates Airline left as the managing partner ten years ago.

“This comes at a turbulent time for the industry when most airlines are facing difficulty maintaining their yields due to intense competition. SriLankan has just completed a year of significant expansion with minimal erosion on yields and ended the year comfortably exceeding the revenue target,” Ratwatte said.

The airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Siva Ramachandran, added, “This is a proud moment for all of us at SriLankan and serves as a testament that a home-grown team is capable of turning around the airline from one that is deeply loss making to self-sufficient.”

The Airline said the year has been one of transformation for SriLankan, in which it inducted 4 brand new fuel efficient narrow-bodied aircraft to the fleet – in the process becoming the first A321neo aircraft operator in Asia. It has also made significant improvements to on-board service, including offering flat-bed Business Class seats on all wide-bodied aircraft and Wi-Fi services on nearly half of its fleet.

The airline is currently at the verge of implementing the second phase of its restructuring plan, which would see the airline become a profitable and self-sufficient entity within a short period. The restructuring initiatives would see the airline further fine tune its route network and implement a range of cost optimisation initiatives, the statement said.

A new Board of Directors was appointed to the SriLankan Airlines last month, to accelerate the restructuring process and create the enabling environment to proceed with entering into a Public-Private-Partnership with a strategic investor.

In February, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, appointed a special Presidential Commission to investigate alleged large-scale frauds and malpractices in Sri Lankan Airlines, after the company recorded severe losses in recent years.

The Presidential Commission will probe all the alleged frauds in SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd and the state-owned budget carrier Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd during the period from January 1, 2006 to January 31, 2018, a statement from the President’s Office said.

The commission will also look into the reasons behind the termination in 2008 of the agreement between the SriLankan Airlines and Emirates Airlines.

Due to its financial crisis, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced last year that the airline was facing a massive debt of 3 billion U.S. dollars and was a “landmine” for the country’s economy.

Wickremesinghe blamed the previous administration for mismanaging the national airline, thus leading to the colossal losses.

He said the government was seeking an international investor to manage the airline on the basis of a public and private partnership.