SriLankan renewing narrowbody fleet with A321s

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SriLankan Airlines will take delivery of two leased Airbus A321s this year before deciding whether to place a firm order for A321neos, chief executive Kapila Chandrasena tells Flightglobal.

The flag carrier will return two of its eight A320s to their lessors when the larger variants enter service in March and July as part of an “interim solution”.

“We are looking at the induction of two A321s this year, replacing some of the A320s,” Chandrasena says. “The A321 is more suitable to our type of network in the region. They will be fully refurbished and reconfigured, and they are coming on five-year leases.

“Then we are ultimately working towards the A321neos when they become available around 2019.”

The first A321 unit (MSN 3397) was ferried to Ostrava in the Czech Republic this month. It was formerly operated by Qatar Airways and will be leased from CIT Aerospace, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database.

On the widebody front, SriLankan Airlines is due to receive six A330-300s and seven A350s over the coming years. Its existing widebody fleet comprises seven A330-200s and six A340s. Deliveries of the new A330s will run from October 2014 through to the end of 2015, allowing the carrier to fully retire its A340s.

Three of the A350s will then begin arriving in 2017 under a 12-year leasing deal with ILFC, while the remaining four units are due to be delivered “from 2019 onwards”.

Chandrasena adds that low-cost affiliate Mihin Lanka will receive two Boeing 737-800s in 2015, although the order has not been confirmed by the US manufacturer. Its existing fleet comprises two A321s and one A320.