State-owned Sri Lankan Airlines has unveiled plans to expand its fleet from 24 to 35 in the next three years and replace some of its ageing jets and received wide spread condemnation. The airline has moved to provide clarifications.
A press release and subsequent tweets mentioned SriLankan is planning for measured growth in the next three years through frequency increases and the addition of new destinations as international travel is in a trajectory of recovery from the pandemic.
The business plan of the airline necessitates a 35-aircraft-strong fleet by 2025. Additionally, it is critical to lease replacement aircraft when existing aircraft leases expire to sustain operations. Considering these factors, SriLankan plans to lease up to 21 aircraft from the forthcoming RFP process.
SriLankan Airlines also provided clarification with respect to speculation circulating on social media with respect to SriLankan Aircraft uplifting printed material to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda last year:
SriLankan Airlines received an air cargo order to transport about 102 tons of printed material from Colombo to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda in February 2021. The consignment was purely commercial in nature and brought in much needed foreign revenue to the airline and country at the time. SriLankan wishes to emphasize that this cargo order was undertaken for commercial reasons only.
The details of the cargo consignment withheld due to contractual obligations as per air cargo industry standards.