The loan will "strengthen Sri Lankan Airlines at a time when the government of Sri Lanka expects the airline to be a catalyst for the further growth of Sri Lanka's economy, especially tourism and export industries,'' the statement said. State-owned Sri Lankan Airlines, which is consolidating routes in Europe and expanding operations elsewhere, currently operates a fleet of 19 aircraft covering 60 destinations across the globe with an increasing presence in the Middle East and Asia, according to the statement.
Sri Lankan joined the Oneworld Alliance last month and plans to nine additional planes to its fleet by 2015 as part of its expansion strategy. SriLankan Airlines has made an operating loss of 19.1 billion rupees in 2011, up from a group net loss of 6.03 billion rupees in 2010. As per the Central Bank 2011 Annual Report, revenue of SriLankan Airlines had increased by 16.3% to Rs. 78.9 billion, while operating expenditure increased by 32.2% to Rs. 98 billion, resulting in an operating loss of Rs. 19.1 billion. In 2009, the airline lost nearly Rs. 10 billion and in 2010 it lost around Rs. 6 billion.