ETW Staff– Mumbai
In a major milestone, SriLankan Airlines’ new Airbus A330-300 touched down at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake. The new wide body A330-300 aircraft with its superior inflight features and comfort, advanced technological features and enhanced fuel efficiency joins SriLankan’s existing Airbus wide-body fleet of A330-200 and A340-300 aircraft.
Piyankara Jayaratne, minister of civil aviation, said, “It is my privilege as the minister in charge of this all important aviation industry to be a witness on this momentous occasion of the arrival of SriLankan Airlines’ newest aircraft. I am sure all those present especially the employees of our national carrier are filled with a sense of pride and achievement, a sentiment I’m sure is shared by the people of this country, as this day marks the beginning of a new era for aviation in Sri Lanka.”
“The arrival of the A330-300 aircraft is the first of several other new aircraft being acquired, representing the restructuring of the national carriers fleet in keeping with the modern standards of a highly competitive airline industry, that is constantly transforming maintaining a dynamism that makes it the leader in global transportation. With the Aviation sector being identified as a key economic growth area in the Mahinda Chinthana, the 2010 policy statement of the president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the government has supported all initiatives towards making Sri Lanka an aviation ub of the region.”
The minister further stated, “The major infrastructure development undertaken by the government such as the second international airport in Mattala, the Hambantota Seaport and the highway systems, combined with the favourable geographical location, offer the country an invaluable opportunity to become an aviation hub. It is in keeping with the President’s vision that the government has supported SriLankan Airlines Fleet Modernisation programme to acquire new generation of aircraft to help the airline to fly confidently into the future.”
Nishantha Wickremasinghe reaffirmed the national carrier’s commitment to the development of the country’s aviation sector and views the acquisition of the aircraft as a progressive move towards supporting the government’s goal to make Sri Lanka an Aviation Hub in the region.
Nishantha Wickremasinghe, chairman, SriLankan Airlines, said, “I am delighted to have the first of seven A330-300s on order joining our fleet today, which is a red-letter day for the SriLankan Airlines family and moreover a reason for national pride as our country’s flagship carrier gears itself to meet the challenges and ever growing demands of the global travel industry. This delivery launches the process of the fleet renewal and replacement programme and affords us the opportunity to enhance our product offering to our customers and puts our product on par with the leading international airlines serving Sri Lanka. This underscores our commitment towards innovation of products and services in order to strengthen Sri Lanka’s aviation sector. This important delivery marks the beginning of our plans for diversifying our aircraft portfolio and increasing the appeal to both Sri Lankan and international passengers.”
The first of SriLankan’s seven latest airliners the new A330-300 aircraft pursuant to an order placed with Airbus, was handed over to the airline at a function in Toulouse on Thursday October 30th. SriLankan is to take delivery of its second A330-300 by the end of this year, with the balance five aircraft to be inducted periodically throughout the year 2015.
The A330-300 powered by twin Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines known for its proven passenger appeal and fuel efficiency is one of the most widely used wide body aircraft in service today. Affording optimum levels of comfort in the aircraft cabin, the airline will configure its layout seating 297 passengers in two classes accommodating 28 in business class and 269 in economy.