SriLankan Airlines: Fleet expansion and operational challenges

A SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 on the tarmac.
contri from Yonezawa, Yamagata, Japan, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent statement, SriLankan Airlines addressed the inconvenience caused to its customers due to flight cancellations and delays.

The airline expressed sincere apologies to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted during this busy festive season.

The disruptions were attributed to operational challenges, including two grounded Airbus A330 aircraft, delayed spare engines, and a newly leased A320 facing customization delays.

Understanding the Challenges


Global Supply Shortage Woes

At the heart of the issue was a global supply shortage, causing a delay in manufacturing a crucial part needed for an extended check on one of the grounded A330s.

Unforeseen Events in Paris

Compounding the situation was an incident in Paris where another A330 suffered a burst tire, further limiting the available fleet.

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Logistical Delays

Delays in the arrival of spare engines and the newly leased A320 exacerbated the situation, leading to a shortage of operational aircraft.

Immediate Actions and Resolutions

SriLankan Airlines has already received a newly leased A320, enhancing its fleet to 22 aircraft.

The addition of this Airbus A320, equipped with fuel-efficient Sharklet wingtips, is set to boost the airline’s capacity on short and medium-haul routes, covering the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, and the Middle East.

A Glimpse into the Fleet Enhancement


Newly Leased Airbus A320

The newly leased Airbus A320, with the serial number 4R – ABS, has joined the fleet for a six-year term.

It arrived from Malaysia and will be operational after customization and branding. Its inaugural flight to the Maldives is scheduled for December 29, 2023.

With 12 Business Class seats and 138 Economy Class seats, this aircraft allows SriLankan Airlines to optimize capacity on key routes.

SriLankan Adds Leased A320 To Boost Colombo Ops
Photo Credit: SriLankan Airlines.

Fleet Diversity

SriLankan Airlines now boasts a fleet of 12 narrow-bodied and 10 wide-bodied aircraft, contributing to its operational flexibility.

Overcoming Industry Challenges


The aviation industry, including SriLankan Airlines, faced challenges in 2023 with shortages of aircraft and engines, coupled with supply chain disruptions.

However, the addition of the newly leased A320 is the first of several anticipated enhancements. By January 2024, the airline expects three more aircraft in service, including a wet-leased A330 and two additional engines. Another sister aircraft to 4R – ABS is scheduled to arrive in March 2024.

The airline’s commitment to expanding its fleet and addressing challenges head-on demonstrates its resilience in navigating the complexities of the aviation industry.

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