Over the past two days, Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (TRV) in southern India has received two SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330s. While a widebody landing at TRV is not uncommon, Sri Lanka flying its largest jets to this nearby airport is unheard of. So what exactly changed to make this happen?
A330 for less than 400 km
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (TRV) is connected to Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, with daily service from Sri Lankan airlines. However, at 366 km, the route is served by the carrier Airbus A320 aircraft family.
The airport is also no stranger to jumbo jets. For years, Emirates stole his Boeing 777-300ER in Thiruvananthapuram every day. But on May 27 and 28, TRV received from SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 planes, something that hasn’t happened in recent memory, if at all.
Considering the distance between the two cities and passenger demand, a narrow-body aircraft seems sufficient for the job. So why did the airline fly its biggest jets there?
Flights between Thiruvananthapuram and Colombo do not require large jets. Photo: GCMaps
The real reason
The real reason for these anomalies can be attributed to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and the resulting fuel shortage. It seems Colombo airport does not have enough fuel to handle some of Sri Lanka’s long haul flights.
According to The New Indian Express, the carrier has chosen Thiruvananthapuram Airport as the refueling and crew change location for some of its long-distance services. Both Friday and Saturday flights were part of this arrangement.
On May 27, flight UL553 from Colombo to Frankfurt (4R-ALR) landed early in the morning at TRV before departing for its final destination at 03:56. The following day, another Sri Lankan A330 (4R-ALN) appeared at the airport, eventually bound for Melbourne. Unlike the Frankfurt flight, the Melbourne flight first had to fly in the opposite direction to TRV before being refueled for Australia.
Two of Sri Lanka’s A330s recently had to stop at TRV to refuel before flying to their eventual destinations. Photo: FlightRadar24.com
However, the fuel issue has not affected all of Sri Lanka’s long-haul flights. His daily service to London (UL503) operated non-stop as usual, and even the flight to Melbourne on May 29 flew directly south without having to refuel.
India has been a major supplier of fuel in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the crisis, and the airline therefore meets its daily fuel needs most of the time. But a source at Thiruvananthapuram airport says more Sri Lankan flights are expected to land there to refuel in the coming days, so we may not be entirely done with those rare detours just yet. .
These stopover flights have provided additional revenue to Thiruvananthapuram airport. Photo: Airbus
Revenue increase for TRV
Thiruvananthapuram Airport, however, has no complaints. It generates additional revenue not only through refueling, but also by charging landing and parking fees for these A330s. The New Indian Express quotes an airport source as saying:
“The shutdowns would help airport fuel supply units generate more revenue and fill state and central coffers with tax revenue.”
“Besides revenue from refueling, the airport will also earn money from landing and parking fees. We have a large area to park even the biggest Airbus Boeing 777. So the airport has good opportunities.More flights will come here.
But for SriLankan Airlines, already struggling with fragile finances, the extra spending must surely pinch management. Hoping for better days for the carrier.
What are your views on the SriLankan Airline situation? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Source: The new Indian Express
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