Sri Lanka-based FitsAir plans to expand its cargo business and is evaluating introducing its own jet freighters, while fellow Colombo-based carrier SriLankan Airlines has obtained government approval to add its first freighter.
FitsAir, which launched operations in 1997 as a cargo carrier and later moved into the passenger market, may return to its cargo roots. The carrier previously operated a DC-8F (46049) as well as an MD-80F (53217).
More recently, FitsAir took delivery of its first A320-200 (3547, ex-Air Calin) on March 16. The carrier confirmed to Cargo Facts that the aircraft is on lease from AerCap, and that it will reconfigure the A320 for cargo shortly by removing the seats from its cabin.
FitsAir is expecting a second A320-200 around April but declined to identify the frame at this stage, only saying that the aircraft will be leased from DVB Bank. The carrier is likely to also reconfigure that A320.
Based on the performance of the reconfigured aircraft, FitsAir told Cargo Facts that it will make a decision by the end of this year on full-freighter conversion of A320 Family aircraft. Additionally, FitsAir is also evaluating the full conversion of an A330-200 or -300 and plans to reach a decision on the widebody either in late 2021 or early 2022.
In November 2020, FitsAir also dabbled in A321 operations through a reconfigured A321-200 (1366) operated by Lithuania-based Avion Express, which flew the aircraft on behalf of FitsAir for just over two months from Colombo (CMB) to destinations including Male (MLE), Chennai (MAA), Karachi (KHI), Yangon (RGN) and Dubai (DXB).
FitsAir’s A320s will be reconfigured with the help of SriLankan Engineering, with which it recently signed a maintenance and engineering agreement.
SriLankan Engineering is the MRO division of SriLankan Airlines and reconfigured one of the airline’s own A330-200s (1008) last year. SriLankan Airlines also intends to ramp up its cargo operations; after expressing initial plans to add two freighters late last year, the carrier received the green light from the country’s government on March 15 to “strategically” change the company structure and to obtain a freighter on lease, “following the international competitive procurement methodology,” according to a summary of decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers.
SriLankan could not immediately be reached for comment on the types it is considering.
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