Sri Lankan Airlines is looking to lease four of its Airbus A330 aircraft to Pakistan International Airlines Group.

According to Reuters, Kabir Hashim, Sri Lanka’s minister of public enterprise development said: “A team from the airline is in Pakistan for negotiations. We will lease one A330 [providing crew and maintenance support as well].”

The leased A330 will begin operating Pakistan International Airlines’ flights next week, with the aircraft serving the Islamabad–London Heathrow and Lahore–London Heathrow routes.

Hashim confirmed that Sri Lankan Airlines will also lease three more A330s “in the next few months”, but did not specify the type of lease.

The A330s have predominantly been used on Sri Lankan’s long-haul flights, such as those to Frankfurt, Paris and Rome. But the airline is terminating these: flights to Rome have already ended, while those to Frankfurt and Paris will end on October 29 and November 6 respectively.

The move comes just months after the Oneworld carrier chose to cancel its order for four Airbus A350 aircraft. While it still has another four A350s on the books, the airline is in talks with a number of parties to divest the remaining aircraft.

Sri Lankan has made heavy losses – totalling US$3.25 billion – over the past few years and is now looking for an international partner for help.

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Clement Huang