Debt-hit SriLankan Airlines to lease planes to Pakistan and Iran

SriLankan Airlines A330
Tis Meyer/

Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped national carrier is in talks to lease some of its new Airbus aircraft to Pakistan and Iran to reduce a $993 million loss.

Pakistan International Airlines confirmed that it has entered negotiations with SriLankan Airlines for the wet lease of four Airbus A330 aircraft.

Pakistan’s national carrier had recently announced a tender for the lease of wide body aircraft and Sri Lanka’s national carrier expressed its interest in leasing out four of the Airbus A330 in its fleet.

A team led by Pakistan International Airlines CEO, Mr. Bernd Hildenbrand recently visited Colombo to inspect these aircraft and to negotiate a contract.

Iranian national carrier Iran Air had also shown interest in a larger A350 which Sri Lanka is due to take delivery of in a few months´ time, the minister said.

SriLankan, which has accumulated losses of $993 million, plans to scrap several European flights in the coming months and is looking for an equity partner to revive the business.

SriLankan Airlines announced last month that it will be suspending its operations to Paris and Frankfurt, from winter 2016, as the Government of Sri Lanka has made it clear that it will no longer fund continuing losses. 

Accordingly, the last flights between Frankfurt and Colombo, flights UL 553/554, will be operated on October 30, while UL 563/564 of November 6, 2016 will conclude the operations between Paris and Colombo.

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