SriLankan Airlines steps toward main-deck freighters

SriLankan Airlines to take formal step towards maindeck freighters
SriLankan’s reconfigured A330-200. Photo/SriLakan Airlines

After launching cargo-only flights with a reconfigured A330-200 this year, SriLankan Airlines is looking at dedicated freighters as part of a plan to return the airline to profitability by 2022.

The carrier, which conducts most major procurement activities through a bidding process, plans to issue a tender notice for two freighters, Ashok Pathirage, chairman of SriLankan Airlines, told UAE-based The Nation this week.

SriLankan told Cargo Facts in July that it was considering full freighters to further grow cargo revenue amid dismal passenger demand. In June, the carrier took the first step toward adding a full freighter when it removed seats on an A330-200 in its fleet. Clearing the seats added an additional 60 cubic meters of volumetric capacity to the main passenger deck, bringing total capacity to 170 cubic meters. Reconfigured, the A330-200 can haul a max payload of up to 45 tonnes.

At the time, SriLankan had not settled on whether it would stick with A330 freighters, but we note an A330-200P2F conversion from EFW can carry up to 60 tonnes, according to a brochure from the conversion house.

Prior to the crisis, SriLankan operated an all-Airbus fleet of A320s, A321s, A330-200s and A330-300s.

Around 192 passenger aircraft have now been reconfigured for cargo operations through seat removal, according to the Cargo Facts passenger freighter database.

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