SriLankan Airlines explains high costs of running Coronavirus rescue flights
ECONOMYNEXT – SriLankan Airlines says the cost of running a special flight is extremely high as the aircraft is running empty in one direction and is coming back half full, also paying high fees to open airports in foreign countries which are closed for passenger traffic.
The airline was responding complaints on social media that ticket prices were high on a flight which brought back Sri Lankan citizens who were stranded in India where Coronavirus was spreading.
“The above flight was a ferry flight out of Sri Lanka (zero passengers outward) and departed India with an overall cabin factor of 50 percent or less (the aircraft was only half full on the return journey),” SriLankan said in a statement.
“SriLankan Airlines wishes to state that the above-mentioned flight was specifically operated as a special flight, based on the request made by the students and their parents to the Government of Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka’s government, the foreign ministry, Airport and Aviation Services, health services had made the flight possible and had arranged permission from government and airports which are closed for passenger operations.
“Further taking into consideration that most airports have shut down SriLankan Airlines had to carry fuel from Colombo for the return journey, catering services and organize standby ground services for any unforeseen emergency,” the airline said.
The airline also had to spend on personal protective equipment, deep cleaning, fogging and sanitizing which also raised costs further and the fares were based on high costs.
SriLankan said staff was operating flights at a risk to themselves.
SriLankan Airlines staff and also taken pay cuts and is running at a loss. (Colombo/Apr27/2020)