ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines had lost 135 million US dollars (40 billion rupees) up from 66 million US dollars (11 billion rupees) in the 9-months ending December 31, amid a steep fall in currency, the airline said.
SriLankan had also paid 23 million US dollars to the government as withholding tax on lease payments on aircraft. The government had already proposed a waiver of the tax.
Interest cost for the nine months were 47 million US dollars, the airline said.
The currency loss on forex loans were not separately given.
Sri Lanka’s rupee fell from around 150 at the beginning of the year to 180 to the US dollar by the end of the year.
SriLankan said revenue from airline operations rose 8 percent to 746 million US dollars.
But operating costs rose 15 percent to 902 million US dollars, with higher fuel costs.
Available Seat Kilometres were raised by 6.5 percent.
Cost per Available Seat Kilometer excluding fuel and interest cost had fallen 3 percent.
Total passengers carried were up by 0.3 percent, and the overall seat factor (use of available seats) were flat at 82 percent.
"Effective and timely management of aircraft deployment and flight frequencies on the basis of market dynamics allowed the Airline to optimize revenue amidst the increased competitive climate," the airline said in a statement.
"Flight frequencies to markets such as London, Melbourne, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Delhi were increased to meet the seasonal demand and it proved to be aneffective strategy as the performance of these routes improved significantly."
"Melbourne – Australia that saw Australia rising to the 5th highest tourist generator of 2018 ahead of some of the traditional tourist markets."