25 May 2013

Sri Lankan Airlines, without cash, is ordering 4 A350-900s ... and 6 A330-300s in the interim.

Sri Lankan Airlines has signed a provisional deal with Airbus to buy 6 A330-300 and 4 A350-900 aircraft for delivery between 2014 and 2023.

The airline, seeking to modernize its fleet to cut fuel costs, will opt for Rolls-Royce engines and use a lease-back arrangement to conserve cash, chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said in an interview.

"The total cost altogether is going to be around USD$1.3 billion. But deliveries are progressively from 2014 to 2023 on a staggered basis," he said. The carrier signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase with Airbus last Friday, he said.

Sri Lankan Airlines now operates a 22-aircraft fleet including seven A320-200s, seven A330-300s, six A340-300s and two Twin Otters.

Chandrasena said the national carrier needs to replace all six A340-300s with A330-300 aircraft and all seven A330-300s with A350-900s.

Chandrasena said the airlines considered offers by both Airbus and Boeing. "We looked at who is giving more value for us. In that discussion, it was apparent that the Airbus offer of A330-300s in the interim and long-term A350-900 is much more favorable than the Boeing," he said.

"Boeing did not have interim aircraft. They were only interested in the long-term offer, which was the 787."

"We don't have cash," Chandrasena said. "So what we are doing is a sale and lease."

Based on the article “Sri Lankan Air To Buy 10 Airbus Aircraft” published in Reuters

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