In a significant development, Sri Lanka’s aviation sector has reported a substantial profit of Rs. 22 billion in the period spanning from January to August 2023, said Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva.
Speaking during a news briefing held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (09) focusing on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’, the Minister highlighted that approximately Rs. 10 billion from this profit has already been contributed to Treasury, providing a much-needed boost to the country’s finances.
He further said that efforts are underway to restructure SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier, with a focus on improving its operations and financial performance. Importantly, the government is committed to ensuring the job security of the approximately 6,000 employees of the airline during this restructuring process. To facilitate this, an international consultant has been appointed. This consultant is expected to bring expertise and best practices to guide the restructuring efforts, he said.
The Minister highlighted the success of operations at Palali International Airport, emphasizing that the airport has completed 200 flights. This achievement underscores the airport’s increasing significance and efficiency in handling air travel.
The Minister acknowledged the challenges faced by the aviation sector in the past, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced tourist arrivals, and a dollar crisis that affected fuel supply for airplanes. He mentioned that, at one point, fuel for airplanes had to be procured by sending aircraft to Madras to obtain the necessary fuel.
To address these challenges, the Minister of Petroleum and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva intervened and facilitated the import of aviation fuel by the private sector, ensuring a stable supply of fuel for airplanes. Additionally, modern technology was employed to develop Bandaranaike International Airport, earning it recognition as a prominent airport in Southeast Asia.
Efforts were made to increase the frequency of flights by different airlines operating in Sri Lanka. This likely contributes to improved connectivity and accessibility for travellers.