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Sri Lankan Airlines to buy Airbus planes for $1.3 billion

Staff writer |
Sri Lankan Airlines has signed a provisional deal with Airbus worth $1.3 billion to buy six A330-300 and four A350-900 aircraft between 2014 and 2023.

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Sri Lankan Airlines is seeking to modernize its fleet and will opt for Rolls-Royce Plc engines and use a lease-back arrangement.

"The total cost altogether is going to be around $1.3 billion. But deliveries are progressively from 2014 to 2023 on a staggered basis," said chief executive officer Kapila Chandrasena.

Sri Lankan Airlines operates with a 22-aircraft including seven A320-200s, seven A330-300s, six A340-300s and two Twin Otters. The carrier needs to replace all six A340-300s with A330-300 aircraft and all seven A330-300s with A350-900s.

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

Sri Lankan Airlines estimates that it incurred a loss of $134.8 million in the 2012/2013 financial year to March 31. The carrier would be looking at a lease period of 10 to 15 years, with a shorter period for the A330-300s and a longer period for the A350-900s.

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