Sri Lanka’s fuel reserves are shrinking as a result of the economic crisis. State-owned airlines are now taking refueling breaks abroad.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis in decades. This has been visible at domestic gas stations since March, with the long lines that constantly form there. Among other things, because there is also a shortage of gasoline and diesel fuel, because the country does not have enough dollar reserves for imports.
Now the problem is also spreading to kerosene. Local business portal Economy Next said last week that the still state-owned airline now has to take refueling breaks overseas. “There is less oil in Colombo,” said a source close to Sri Lankan Airlines. “That’s why we used Chennai, Dubai and Singapore to refuel our flights.”
Foreign airlines are warning
These were not one-off actions. Stops are now visible in flight history as well. For example, an Airbus A330 with registration number 4R-ALR flying UL553 from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo to Frankfurt stopped on May 27 in Thiruvananthapuram in southern India after less than an hour’s flight. On routes from Colombo to Melbourne and Tokyo, Sri Lankan airline Airbus A330 has made several stops in Chennai in south-east India in recent days.
A source close to the capital’s Bandaranaike International Airport told Economy Next it wasn’t just a domestic state-owned carrier. According to the informant, foreign airlines were “informed ten days ago that the airport has limited fuel.”
Edelweiss will not fly again until November
However, currently there are hardly any foreign airlines with really long flights to Sri Lanka. Edelweiss flew from Zurich to Colombo for the last time on May 6 and will not resume flights until November. Polish flight also arrived on 3rd/4. May for the last time directly to Sir Lanka and back.
Aeroflot from Moscow is currently covering the longest distance. Other airlines such as Emirates and Etihad should worry less about the fuel problem in Colombo due to the shorter distance.