ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines said its operating will fleet will go up to 20 aircraft in July 2023, from the 15 it had been managing with over the last two months.
SriLankan had intended to operate with 18 aircraft but scheduled maintenance (C-checks) on two aircraft were taking longer than expected to due to the difficulty in getting spare part, the airline said in a statement.
Several Airbus A320NEO aircraft were also grounded due to a shortage of the engines worldwide.
The two aircraft going through C-checks would return to operational duty from next week.
An expiring lease of an aircraft would be extended in July. Four replacement engines would also come for grounded A320NEO aircraft. A newly leased A330 would also arrive taking the fleet to 20 aircraft.
SriLankan had started a process of acquiring new aircraft to replace expiring leases early but it had been delayed due the situation in the country.
Several flights had been cancelled amid equipment and staff shortages.
SriLankan had also seen pilots leaving. From early 2021, 57 pilots had resigned and more exits were expected.
“Prior to the pandemic, SriLankan Airlines employed 320 pilots for a fleet of 27 aircraft,” SriLankan said.
“The airline has 257 pilots at present, a number sufficient to meet its operational requirements of a reduced fleet and keep average crew flying hours well within global standards.”
“SriLankan Airlines is aware that it must increase the technical crew numbers in line with the planned expansion of its fleet.”
The airline was training new cadet pilots, and had advertised to hire new pilots. (Colombo/June26/2023)