SriLankan Airlines ups number of India flights

NEW YORK, NY - SriLankan Airlines is to increase its weekly flights from India from 48 to 60 till the year end by adding new destinations, the airline has said.

SriLankan Airlines ups number of  India flights

NEW YORK, NY – SriLankan Airlines is to increase its weekly flights from India from 48 to 60 till the year end by adding new destinations, the airline has said.

Asia, particularly India, is a very important destination for the airline and it gives top priority to the region, the Airline Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said in an exclusive interview to Press Trust of India (PTI) Thursday.

“We now fly 48 flights a week from India and they will go up to 60 in 2014 and peak with 70 flights by 2015.

“The travelers come to Colombo for onward connection to Middle East and Far East as we plan to make Colombo an important hub,” he said.

“We cover most of the cities in India. For instance, we fly four times a day from Chennai to Colombo and once a day from Madurai, Tiruchi and Kochi and also from Delhi and Mumbai with near full capacity on every flight. We also operate flights to Budha Gaya and Varanasi to cater to Buddhist passengers”, he added.

The airlines is planning to expand the Indian market and looking at new destinations to fly to and from the neighbouring country.

“We have not exhausted all the routes given to us under the bilateral agreement and have room to include more destinations,” he said.

Asia is a place where remunerative pricing is in place and from where the Airline can fly passengers to destinations in China, Japan, Far East, South East Asia and Middle East.

The future for any airline is in Asia, he said.

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SriLankan Airlines has mutual code-share services with Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Air Canada, Royal Jordanian, Alitalia and Mihin Lanka.

Air India and Saudi Arabian Airlines, also code-share on some of SriLankan’s routes.

Colombo is the fastest hub to reach Jakarta and Manila from India besides the Gulf and the UK. Most of our travelers are not point to point but use Colombo for their onward journey, he said.

The airline is planning to start US operations in a few years.

The airline operates about 253 flights a week from Colombo to European, Middle Eastern and Asian destinations, using a fleet of 22 aircraft.

Sri Lanka has already added three new Airbus A320s, two A330 200s, and one A340-200 to help boost the fuel-efficiency of its fleet. It now has seven A320s, seven A330s, six A340-300s and two Twin Otters.

“We promote travel within the island-nation as it is cheaper for Indians to go to Sri Lanka compared to other Indian cities for a holiday, he said.

The airline does not make any compromise on security which was once a prime concern for travellers, he said, adding they take all necessary steps to protect the passengers from any risk without inconveniencing them.

Sri Lankan Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for six A330-300s and four A350-900s.

The airline, an all Airbus operator, has chosen the highly reliable A330 and the latest generation A350 XWB aircraft as part of its long-haul fleet renewal.

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