Sri Lankan Airlines flies to profitability

Sri Lankan Airlines flies to profitability - BPN TODAY
  • National carrier reports $ 9.25 m net profit and Group profit of $ 10.66 m in December
  • $ 11.43 m profit at air transportation level highest in over two decades
  • Says first profitable month since pandemic was boosted by $ 75 m revenue with higher passenger and cargo business
  • Chairman Ashok Pathirage hails sacrifices and contributions made by all staff members
  • Cautions future remains extremely challenging with spread of new variant of the virus
  • Commits to take necessary action to ensure December momentum continues

Sri Lankan Airlines yesterday announced its return to profitability, including a record-high figure in over two decades at a core level, boosted by higher passenger and cargo business.

The national carrier said in December it posted a Company net profit of $ 9.25 million and a Group profit of $ 10.66 million. “It was the first profitable month for the airline since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020,” the airline said.

The revenues were up by almost 200% to $ 75 million from a year earlier and reached over 80% of the pre-pandemic level. Further, the airline reported a profit of $ 11.43 million for December 2021 at air transportation level, which is the highest recorded profit from Air Transportation in over 20 years.

Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said: “The sacrifices made by all our staff members have paved the way for a positive start for the New Year. During the past two years, we implemented multifaceted initiatives to reduce operational costs, for which each and every employee of the Sri Lankan family contributed, and we are reaping the benefits of our efforts today.

“The future, however, remains extremely challenging with the spread of the new variant of the virus and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take necessary action to ensure that the momentum achieved in December continues.”

Sri Lankan operated close to 800 flights during the month and carried a total of 228,203 passengers – in excess of 13 times the number of passengers carried in December 2020. Moreover, Sri Lankan uplifted a total of 7,877 metric tons of cargo, which is a 147% increase from December 2020.

The national carrier said it had been fraught with challenges over the past three years starting with the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 that led to a decline in tourist arrivals in the immediate aftermath, followed by the onset of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, which is now entering into its third year.

However, as the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines rose to the occasion, by deploying resources to fly stranded Sri Lankans home from various parts of the world, including pilgrims from India and students stranded in various parts of the world including from COVID-19 stricken Wuhan in China.

Since then, the Airline has not only engaged in ferrying Sri Lankans but also stepped up to assist citizens of other countries returning home.

Sri Lankan also adapted its strategy with a renewed focus on cargo operations which was a boost for exports and air transportation of vital medical supplies, vaccinations, and other commercial cargo across borders as global passenger air travel came to a virtual halt. Thus, the Airline managed to keep its fleet in operation while many other airlines grounded most of their aircraft.

Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, Sri Lankan has also maintained its commitment to supporting the national economy, bringing tourism, connecting business, carrying freight, and earning foreign exchange. In the past year, Sri Lankans launched operations to several new destinations including Seoul, Nairobi, Moscow, Paris, and Kathmandu as the pandemic showed signs of slowing and borders gradually opened.

The new destinations were promoted through marketing initiatives in the respective markets, including by participating in international tourism trade fairs such as IFTM Top Resa in Paris and OTDYKH LEISURE in Moscow.

Sri Lankan also became the first airline to conduct Familiarization Tours (FAM) for travel trade journalists based in Russia, France, and India last year.

In recent months tourism has bounced back with the country finishing 2021 with 194,495 arrivals. December saw a record 89,506 highest for a month since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Sri Lankan said that, as these positive numbers ring in the New Year, it hopes to continue the momentum by pressing forward with renewed energy and focus.

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