SriLankan focuses on cargo
Cruising Heights|June - July 2021
As it moves to induct its first freighter, the carrier is looking to become an active player in the island nation’s growing international trade, said cargo head Chamara Ranasinghe to Tirthankar Ghosh

“IN SUPPLEMENTING THE LOSS OF PASSENGER REVENUE, SRILANKAN CARGO TOOK STEPS TOWARDS CAPITALIZING ON THE DISRUPTED LOGISTICS ENVIRONMENT THROUGH THE OPERATION OF ITS FIRST CARGO DEDICATED OPERATION.”

SriLankan Airlines is upbeat about air cargo and its move to induct its first freighter is on, according to Chamara Ranasinghe, head of cargo at SriLankan Airlines. The cargo head pointed out that the airline was keen to be an active player in Sri Lanka's growing international trade as well as trans-shipment and global cargo opportunities in the Far East, Europe, Indian Sub-continent and the Middle East.

Ranasinghe replied to questions in detail incidentally, almost everyone at SriLankan is working from home - and pointed out how important air cargo is for the airline: “The financial year 20/21 saw the cargo revenues increasing by 63 per cent from FY 19/20 to account for 60 per cent of the total air traffic revenue generated in FY 20/21.”

Last year was certainly the worst year for all airlines. What were the challenges faced by Sri Lankan?

SriLankan Airlines was compelled to essentially ground the passenger fleet in March 2020 with the decline in passenger travel as an effect of the global pandemic. In supplementing the loss of passenger revenue, Sri Lankan Cargo took steps towards capitalising on the disrupted logistics environment through the operation of its first cargo dedicated operation in the same month leading to the commencement of scheduled operations catering to the cargo demand to 21 destinations in May 2020. The airline presently maintains scheduled operations to over 30 destinations. With a largely cargo focused operation, the airline faced challenges in terms of the unpredictable nature of the global trade levels and market uncertainties as well as in maintaining the cargo competitivity in relation to the larger scale carriers further aggravated through rising fuel prices towards the latter part of the year.

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