COLOMBO, Oct 31, 2014 (EconomyNext) – SriLankan Airlines took delivery of the first of seven new Airbus A330-300 on order Friday under a fleet renewal programme to phase out older planes with more modern and fuel efficient ones.
Sri Lanka’s national carrier is to take delivery of its second A330-300 by the end of this year, with the balance five aircraft to be inducted periodically throughout the year 2015, a statement said.
The airline will also be acquiring eight A350-900s with SriLankan being the first airline in South Asia to acquire this new generation of aircraft. Three are due to be delivered in 2016 and a fourth in 2017. The balance A350s are to be inducted to the airlines’ fleet by 2020.
SriLankan’s existing Airbus wide-body fleet consists of A330-200 and A340-300 aircraft.
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said the delivery "launches the process of the fleet renewal and replacement program and affords us the opportunity to enhance our product offering to our customers."
The new A330-300 will be used in the airline’s major Far East markets of Tokyo and Guangzhou in China with four flights per week to each destination by this December.
SriLankan is due to commence flights later this year to Kunming, making it the fifth destination that the carrier operates to in China alongside a weekly charter flight to Chongqing.
The airline said it is also evaluating possible destinations in Africa and Australia in 2015.
SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena considers fleet renewal as a key component in the national carrier’s initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiencies with the gradual phase-out over the next two years of its older wide body aircraft.
"SriLankan aims to gradually improve revenues and yields as we go for re-fleeting. Our product enhancements and membership in oneworld would contribute to these efforts. We are further able to meet our future capacity requirements with the delivery of the new generation A350-900 wide body aircraft."