Sri Lanka lease four Airbuses to PIA. Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped national airline is in talks to lease four of its Airbus A330 planes to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), a government minister said on Thursday, months after cancelling an order for four Airbus A350 aircraft.
State-owned SriLankan Airlines aims to reduce its debt and is looking for an international partner to help reverse years of losses.
Sri Lanka lease four Airbuses to PIA:
“A team from the airline is in Pakistan for negotiations. We will lease one A330, latest next month, on wet lease,” Kabir Hashim, Minister of Public Enterprise Development, told reporters in Colombo.
A wet lease refers to when one airline provides an aircraft, crew and maintenance to another.
Hashim also said SriLankan would lease three more A330s “in the next few months”, but did not discuss the type of lease.
The airline, which has taken on seven Airbus A330-300s since 2012, has debts of around $3.25 billion.
Hashim said the airline paid around $450,000 dollars a month to lease each A330 and was looking to lease the aircraft to the Pakistani carrier “even at a break even” level.
The aircraft to be leased were used on loss-making routes to cities such as Frankfurt, Paris, and Rome, which SriLankan has decided to cancel, he said.
A PIA official confirmed the company is in negations with SriLankan.
“Sri Lanka and Pakistan are in negotiations, a Pakistani team visited Colombo but the deal hasn’t been sealed,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to media about the deal.
SriLankan ordered eight A350s from Airbus in 2014. It has cancelled four and got rid of one of the others. Hashim said it was in talks with parties including an Iranian airline to sell the remaining A350s, which are still in production.
Sri Lanka lease four Airbuses to PIA. SriLankan was a profitable venture with Dubai-based Emirates Airline until the pair split in 2008. It last made a profit in 2009, and since then incurred losses of $993 million through 2015, the minister said.