SriLankan Airlines experienced a revenue reduction of 70% during the financial year 2020/21 when compared to the year before, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said.
He said in a statment that globally the airline industry has experienced a decrease in capacity of approximately 60% to 80% due to the Covid-19 pandemic with containment measures in place.
He said despite ongoing border restrictions and airport closures,SriLankan have continued to fulfill its obligations as the National Carrier by sustaining global trade and repatriating stranded Sri Lankans.
“74,032 passengers were repatriated from 229 flights between April 2020 to March 2021. However, from April to June 2021 35,612 passengers were repatriated using our scheduled flights.We also adapted to meet the increased demand for transportation of air cargo, resulting from the suspension of flights to Sri Lanka by other carriers,” he said.
The Chairman also said SriLankan will be resuming flights to the Russian capital, Moscow this July, with a weekly scheduled flight between Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport (DME).
“Using an Airbus A330 configured for 269 economy and 28 business class seats we will not only facilitate travel but will be the impetus for building closer bilateral business connections between the two countries,
Despite the massive impact on global tourism, the airline opted to strategically steer into cargo operations. Our existing fleet was sufficient to cater to cargo operation and the limited passenger operations. The wide-body fleet was used prominently for cargo operations while the majority of the narrow-body fleet was kept grounded due to lack of utilization for passenger services. The expansion of our cargo operations strategically reduced the adverse effects of passenger travel,” he said.
“The present schedule consists of a network optimizing passenger and cargo contributions to over 29 destinations. New Destinations in the present schedule include Sydney, Incheon, and Nairobi with Frankfurt and Moscow to commence by the end of July. Over 60% of the uplifted capacity was allocated to local exports to ensure a continuous foreign currency inflow to Sri Lanka in the hope of strengthening the domestic export segment. SriLankan Airlines operated 3,039 scheduled flights and 165 cargo charters/ non-scheduled operations for uplifting Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and essential goods connecting the Far East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Europe, and the Middle East since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic from April 2020 to June 2021. Cargo Flights carrying a tonnage of 77M Kgs supporting the national economy,” he said.
He said SriLankan have taken many steps precautionary measures to ensure the safety of passengers when flying with them and added that 95 % of its flying Crew were fully vaccinated.
“The health and safety measures span across the entire passenger journey. Our efforts were recognised by Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) with a diamond rating, and we pride ourselves as the only airline to receive such a rating in South Asia. Further, the airline’s efforts to ensure the wellbeing of employees since the onset of the pandemic whilst maintaining a productive working environment across all operational and non- operational areas of the airline were recognized and highly commended at the prestigious Asian Leadership Awards (ALA) 2021 by bestowing upon us the award for “Best in managing health at work” in the “Asian HR Leadership Awards” category. This award is a result of the sheer determination and team effort of all SriLankan staff and clear evidence that the new challenges faced due to the pandemic and subsequent crisis has not stopped our committed staff members from doing their best showcasing their excellence at all times,” he said.
“SriLankan Airlines has successfully rolled out vaccines administered by the airlines’ medical center to 95 % of our flying Crew who are fully vaccinated and more than 80 % of our operational and other staff are also inoculated. Through the assistance of government authorities, the Company is continuing its staff vaccination programme to reach 100%. I would like to express our appreciation to the government and the health authorities for providing the required vaccines to the airline staff, which was a timely and critical need to ensure uninterrupted,” he added