State-owned carrier SriLankan Airlines is pinning its hopes for a return to profitability on turning its Colombo hub a key connecting point for passengers between Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

In its latest five-year strategic business plan, the Oneworld carrier says it will look to leverage its membership of the alliance and its codeshare partnerships, while also developing its own network to match new opportunities. This will include a greater focus on carrying transit traffic, in contrast to its recent focus on point-to-point flying.

In accordance with that, it plans to launch a fifth-weekly frequency between Colombo and Tokyo Narita on 16 July using Airbus A330-300s.

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows that SriLankan operates an all-Airbus fleet of 27 aircraft: 13 A320 family aircraft and 14 A330s.

In the short-term it plans to tweak its onboard product by offering enhanced business class seats and reconfiguring some of its aircraft.

SriLankan is also pushing for a more competitive cost structure through "greater cost consciousness" and increased staff productivity. It will look to supplement this by greater use of digital technologies to drive online sales and customer engagement.

Another part of the plan is for it to boost the revenues from its cargo, engineering, ground handling and training subsidiaries. On the cargo front, that could include introducing dedicated freighters into its operations to complement its bellyhold operations.

The plan will soon be submitted to the government for approval.

For March-December 2018 period, the carrier’s net loss more than doubled to SLR40 billion ($135 million). While revenue rose 8% to SLR120 billion, this was outpaced by a 15% jump in expenses driven by higher fuel, aircraft leasing, and a foreign currency costs.

Source: Cirium Dashboard