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SriLankan Airlines: bombings set back expansion plans and turnaround

Tourism numbers in Sri Lanka have dropped by more than 50% in the three months since Easter, when a series of suicide bombings killed more than 250 people at three churches and three hotels in the capital, Colombo.

For a country that relies heavily on tourism the impact on the economy has been devastating and the sudden decline in visitor numbers has not surprisingly impacted Sri Lanka’s aviation market.

Several foreign airlines slashed capacity and are still operating reduced schedules. SriLankan Airlines expects a more than 10% drop in passenger traffic in 2019 and approximately a USD100 million decline in revenues.

The bombings came just a couple of weeks after SriLankan unveiled a new five-year business plan, which outlined several new routes, widebody fleet renewal and narrowbody fleet expansion. SriLankan has had to adjust the plan, pushing back the launch of three long haul routes and aircraft deliveries, as well as its aspirations for achieving break-even within three years. 

For an airline that has been consistently and highly unprofitable since 2008 the 21-Apr-2019 bombings have created yet another hurdle in a long, challenging, road to recovery. 

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