Tamil Nadu

SriLankan Airlines makes fuel stops at Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram airports

The government-owned carrier started the first of these approximately 40-minute transit halts recently with UL454 (Colombo-Tokyo Narita) landing in Chennai on May 23. File.

The government-owned carrier started the first of these approximately 40-minute transit halts recently with UL454 (Colombo-Tokyo Narita) landing in Chennai on May 23. File. | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

SriLankan Airlines has begun “technical halts” at Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram for some of its long-haul international flights, which an aviation source told The Hindu, were essentially refuelling stops due to a shortage of jet fuel at the island nation’s Bandaranaike International Airport. These are sectors operated with the airline’s largest aircraft, the 297-seat Airbus A330-300s.

The government-owned carrier started the first of these approximately 40-minute transit halts recently with UL454 (Colombo-Tokyo Narita) landing in Chennai on May 23. The 6,897 km non-stop route is usually covered in a little over eight hours. The source said that there is a fuel refill on the return sector (UL455) too.

On May 27, UL604, to Melbourne, was refuelled at Chennai, but this flight has a stopover at Thiruvananthapuram now as it is the closest large Indian airport from Sri Lanka, an air distance of 357 km. Some other flights that replenished their fuel reserves in Kerala were UL553 (Colombo-Frankfurt), on May 27, and UL606, to Sydney. The aviation source added that another overseas fuel stop was Dubai, for the Paris flights.

An airline official confirmed the development but no further details were given.

According to a senior commander who flies Airbus aircraft, while the fuel uplift for a 10-hour flight on the Airbus A330 would be about 60 tonnes, there would have to be additional fuel to meet the mandatory regulatory requirements for contingencies, possible diversions and as reserves.

The aviation source also said that some international airlines operating to Sri Lanka could have been advised to tanker their flights to avoid refuelling issues at Colombo.


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Printable version | May 31, 2022 8:55:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/srilankan-airlines-flights-make-tactical-halts-at-chennai-thiruvananthapuram-airports/article65479685.ece