SriLankan to acquire seven aircraft by end-2011

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SriLankan Airlines plans to add seven aircraft to its fleet by the end of 2011.

The seven aircraft comprise five Airbus A320s and two de Havilland Canada Twin Otter floatplanes. "They will allow SriLankan to significantly enhance the passenger experience on board our flights, give us the ability to fly to more cities in the subcontinent, Middle East and South-east Asia, and to also increase capacity to existing destinations in these regions," says the carrier's CEO Manoj Gunawardena.

Two of the five A320s will arrive in December and early 2011, while the remaining three will be added in May to November 2011, says the airline.

All five A320s will be acquired on operating leases. The three aircraft that will arrive later will be brand new aircraft, adds SriLankan, which last acquired new aircraft in 2000.

The airline will also add two Twin Otters for its domestic floatplane operations, which it will resume from December.

The additions will take SriLankan's total fleet to 20. It already operates three A320s, five A330s and five A340s.

"Our fleet expansion plans are constantly updated to support Sri Lanka's rapidly growing tourism industry, while keeping in mind the financial requirements of the airline," says Gunawardena.

The airline is also looking to add at least one additional long-haul widebody aircraft to launch new flights to Europe and the Far East, says SriLankan.