Sri Lanka to get 10 new Airbus aircraft
AFP © Sri Lanka to get 10 new Airbus aircraft
COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka is set to re-fleet its loss-making national carrier with 10 new Airbus aircraft in a deal that could be worth over $2.5 billion, a government official and a media report said on Sunday.
SriLankan Airlines will also secure an aircraft maintenance facility at the country's newest international airport in the south of the country as part of the deal with Airbus, the official said, asking not to be named
"There would be a financing package that will go along with this re-fleeting," said the official. "The aircraft would be acquired over the next seven years."
The privately-run Colombo-based Sunday Times newspaper said Sri Lanka's cabinet approved more than $2.5 billion for the re-fleeting programme of SriLankan Airlines which is set to retire its ageing fleet of long-haul aircraft.
The paper said the government approved an initial payment of $80 million for the re-fleeting of the carrier which made a loss of $164 million last year.
It will get six new Airbus A330-300 and four new A350-900 aircraft, all fitted with Rolls Royce engines, the newspaper said.
There was no immediate comment from SriLankan Airlines or the aviation minister Priyankara Jayaratne who is reported to have proposed the re-fleeting deal with Airbus.
The carrier operates a fleet of 22 aircraft -- six A340-300 aircraft, seven A330-200/243, eight A320-200 and one De Havilland Twin Otter.
SriLankan Airlines ended its management contract with Emirates of Dubai in 2008 and since then has been making substantial losses.