ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's loss-making national carrier stands to lose some $50 million in revenue when the only runway at the Colombo international airport will be shut during much of the day for three months, an official said.
Sri Lankan which is the largest single carrier out of the Colombo international will see 17 per cent of its seat capacity affected by the 8.30 am to 4.30 p.m. closure of the runway from January 6 to April 6, an official said.
"The runway closure will put a $50 million hole in our revenue," the official said adding that if not the airline under its new management was hoping to break even next year.
Sri Lankan is also taking another hit having to pay $17.7 million as a penalty for cancelling an order for an Airbus A-350 ordered by the previous government under a highly controversial $2.3 billion deal to re-fleet.
Negotiations are still underway with a Dutch aircraft leasing company about the fate of three more A350 aircraft due to be delivered from later this year.
Compounding the immediate problems was the drunk pilot incident which delayed the Frankfurt - Colombo flight by over 15 hours and forced the carrier to pay nearly half a million in compensation to passengers.
Junior pilots raised the alarm before their captain could get anywhere near the A-330 which was due to bring 279 passengers and crew to Colombo.
The incident could not have come at a worse time for the airline which is looking for an international partner to manage it and inject new capital.
However, the detection of the drunk pilot before he could reach the airport had also underscored the strict systems in place to ensure safety of aircraft, officials noted.
Every passenger was being offered some 600 euro in cash or a return to any destination operated by the national carrier for the inconvenience while the offending pilot remains under suspension. (COLOMBO, August 26, 2016)