The revenues are up by almost 200% compared with the same period last year and has reached over 80% of the pre-pandemic level. Further, the Airline reports a profit of USD 11.43 million for December 2021 at Air Transportation level, which is the highest recorded profit from Air Transportation in over 20 years.
“The sacrifices made by all our staff members have paved the way for a positive start for the New Year. During the past two years, we implemented multifaceted initiatives to reduce operational costs, for which each and every employee of the SriLankan family contributed, and we are reaping the benefits of our efforts today. The future, however, remains extremely challenging with the spread of the new variant of the virus and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take necessary action to ensure that the momentum achieved in December continues,” said Ashok Pathirage, Chairman, Sri Lankan Airlines.
SriLankan operated close to 800 flights during the month and carried a total of 228,203 passengers – in excess of 13 times the number of passengers carried in December 2020. Moreover, Sri Lankan uplifted a total of 7,877 metric tons of cargo, which is a 147% increase from December 2020.
SriLankan Airlines has been fraught with challenges over the past three years starting with the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 that led to a decline in tourist arrivals in the immediate aftermath, followed by the onset of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, which is now entering into its third year.
However, as the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines rose to the occasion, by deploying resources to fly stranded Sri Lankans home from various parts of the world, including pilgrims from India and students stranded in various parts of the world including from COVID-19 stricken Wuhan in China. Since then, the Airline has not only engaged in ferrying Sri Lankans, but also stepped up to assist citizens of other countries return home. Sri Lankan also adapted its strategy with a renewed focus on cargo operations which was a boost for exports and air transportation of vital medical supplies, vaccinations and other commercial cargo across borders as global passenger air travel came to a virtual halt. Thus, the Airline managed to keep its fleet in operation while many other airlines grounded most of their aircraft.
Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, SriLankan has also maintained its commitment to support the national economy, bringing tourism, connecting business, carrying freight and earning foreign exchange. In the past year, SriLankan launched operations to several new destinations including to Seoul; Nairobi; Moscow; Paris; and Kathmandu as the pandemic showed signs of slowing and borders gradually opened.
The new destinations were promoted through marketing initiatives in the respective markets, including by participating in international tourism trade fairs such as IFTM Top Resa in Paris and OTDYKH LEISURE in Moscow. SriLankan also became the first airline to conduct Familiarization Tours (FAM) for travel trade journalists based in Russia, France and India last year. The country’s tourist arrivals remarkably topped 44,000 in November 2021 as a result of these initiatives.
As these positive numbers ring in the New Year for SriLankan, the Airline hopes to continue the momentum by pressing forward with a renewed energy and focus.