SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier placed orders for twelve aircraft with Airbus Industrie of which two A 330 planes have been delivered. Colombo Telegraph can reveal that one A 330 yet to be delivered from Toulouse, France is to be fitted in the fashion of USA’s Air Force 1 made to measure for the use of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
SriLankan Airlines placed orders for 12 air craft with Airbus Industrie consisting of six A 330 and six A 350 in a major re fleeting exercise, one of which was to be fitted in a tailor made fashion for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s use. The A330 was to be fitted like the Air Force 1 used by the President of USA costing millions of dollars. The fitting necessitates gear to be fitted permanently to the front end of the aircraft which would add at least one tonne in weight even when other interior fittings are taken off when in use for commercial transport. The added weight would inflate the cost per flown mile in addition to lesser yields for the troubled airline.
Colombo Telegraph understands that once delivered for use the down time for fitting is three working days and another three days for dismantling after each journey which would render the aircraft to be grounded for six days. The cost of fitting this aircraft in this fashion has been spread over the purchase price of all twelve airbus craft to avoid scrutiny.
The Chairman of SriLankan Airlines during the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was his brother in law Nishantha Wickremasinghe, who has since resigned from this post. The CEO of the troubled airline too resigned after President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost in a bid to seek re election for an unprecedented third term. To the surprise of many the Chief Operating Officer of SriLankan Airlines has remained in his position to date.
Colombo Telegraph reliably understands that a new Board of Directors, yet to be named would be going into the balance purchases of these aircraft in the coming week.