Sri Lanka’s crisis turns blessing for Indian Airports

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in India

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in India

Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis is proving beneficial for Thiruvananthapuram airport. SriLankan Airlines, owned by the government of the island nation, has chosen the capital as the refuelling and crew change spot for its long-distance services, bringing in revenue to the airport.

Already, two SriLankan Airlines flights from Colombo, one bound to Frankfurt in Germany and the other to Melbourne in Australia, had a stopover at Thiruvananthapuram on Friday and Saturday. Each long haul flight, with around 12 hours of flying time, needs to refuel at least 120 tonnes. A rough calculation indicated the airport earns Rs 1 crore from refuelling alone.

Sources at the airport said the stopovers were also for cabin crew layover and technical landing. “The halts would help the fuel supply units at the airport generate more income and also fill the state and Centre’s coffers with tax revenue,” said a source. “More SriLankan Airlines flights would land here for refuelling. This has spiked the demand for fuel at the airport and oil firms have had to ensure more supply,” said a source.

Landing and parking revenue added benefits

India has been a major supplier of fuel to Sri Lanka ever since crisis hit at the island nation, said the source. “Many crude oil tanker ships were directed to travel to Sri Lanka for supplying fuel. So Colombo airport has sufficient fuel storage for other international private flights and domestic operations. However, SriLankan Airlines relies on Thiruvananthapuram airport as it is closer to Colombo,” the source said.
The arrival of the flights would net Thiruvananthapuram airport revenue from landing and working charges too.

“Besides revenue from refuelling, the airport will also make money from landing and parking charges. We have a vast area for parking even the biggest Airbus Boeing 777. So the airport has good opportunities. More flights will come here,” said the officer.

Following Covid outbreak, Thiruvananthapuram was among the list of five standby airports in India as it is close to the international air route. It was also used for refuelling and technical landing of aircraft that use the international route.

(The New Indian Express)