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SriLankan Airlines set to cancel flights as ‘bankrupt’ country runs out of fuel, report says

A Sri Lankan Airlines plane lands at Tokyo Narita airport.

Fabrizio Gandolfo/Getty Images

  • SriLankan Airlines may cancel a host of flights this month, the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror reported.
  • The country ran out of jet fuel last week, per the outlet.
  • Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared the country “bankrupt” on Tuesday. 

SriLankan Airlines is preparing to cancel a host of flights after fuel supplies ran out due to the country’s economic crisis, the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror reported.

The airline announced that flights would likely be disrupted until July 18 after it ran out of jet fuel last week, the outlet reported, citing an internal company memo.

Energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Sunday that Sri Lanka had less than a day’s worth of fuel left, while prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared the country “bankrupt” on Tuesday. 

Sri Lankans have been queueing for gas for days and the government has encouraged working from home to save fuel, Insider has previously reported. 

The airline is now making alternative arrangements to keep some routes open, including stopping for fuel at airports in southern India airports, the Daily Mirror reported.

The airline also plans to bring in jet fuel on a dedicated plane from India, the newspaper added.

Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves have been exhausted after it defaulted on its debts for the first time in May. 

That meant the state-owned oil and gas company was unable to import more fuel and prompted the Civil Aviation Authority to tell airlines to carry enough fuel for their return journeys, per the Daily Mirror.

SriLankan Airlines – a member of the OneWorld alliance – did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Warnings of cancellations come amid ongoing flight disruption as airlines struggle to recruit enough staff to meet surging demand for travel.

Thousands of flights were canceled over the Fourth of July weekend in the US.

Scandinavian Airlines was forced to cancel hundreds of flights on Monday after pilots went on strike and it has now filed for bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, British Airways cancelled 1,000 more flights for the summer period on Tuesday.

Heathrow, the UK’s largest airport, asked airlines to cut flights on Thursday amid fears it did not have the capacity to handle surging passenger numbers. Piles of suitcases mounted at the airport in the wake of cancellations.

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