Numerous charter flights onboard for upcoming season in Sri Lanka
The Morning: Amidst a recorded inflow of 150,000 tourists in November alone, a cluster of airlines has shown their interest in commencing flight operations to the island, The Daily Morning Business learnt.
Speaking to The Daily Morning Business, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) Manager Air Services and Traffic Rights Ishara Gunawardana said: “Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Air Arabia, is to start operations from 8 December onwards from Abu Dhabi city.
He added that Touristik Union International (TUI) Airways has planned six flights; three flights are to operate in December 2023 and the rest of the three flights in April 2024 are planned for passenger exchange from cruises.
Another couple of airlines – Saudi Arabian Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airlines, have shown their interest as well.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines will start the operation probably from January, but it has not been confirmed. However, Cathay Pacific Airlines has confirmed to the CAASL that it will operate from February, but a schedule has not yet been approved,” Gunawardana said.
He pointed out that there are a few charter flights in line. “Enter Air” airline from Poland will operate two flights per week up to March 2024.
In addition, SkyUP Charter airline, Ukraine-based airline, will be operating from Romania and Poland to Hambantota. And it is planning to operate five flights per week. But its licensing process is still ongoing.
Moreover, there are some other charter flights lined up which have not been approved yet by the CAASL, such as Rossiya, a subsidiary of Aeroflot from Russia which will operate only two flights to Colombo in December.
According to Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando, Turkish Airlines has commenced preparations and Singapore Airlines has increased its frequency to seven flights.
Moreover, 24 October onwards, the first direct flight from the Czech Republic to Sri Lanka took off from the Prague International Airport. The first direct charter flight from Russia to Sri Lanka landed at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on 1 November 2023.
With Sri Lanka’s tourism industry on a growth path with a steady increase in tourist arrivals to the country, there has been an increase in the number of flights operated to Sri Lanka by international airlines. The increase in charter flights to Sri Lanka during this season is a clear indication that there’s a further growth in tourist arrivals to the country. The many promotional campaigns carried out by local authorities in key tourist source markets and Sri Lanka being identified as a must visit tourist destination by the international media have all helped boost the country’s tourism industry and will help see a further increase in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. All these developments have resulted in the expansion of business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors, as well as the airport and aviation industries. These opportunities also cover the development of infrastructure and supplementary infrastructure facilities required by these sectors to meet the growing demand. Given the growing business potential in many industries in Sri Lanka, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism and airport and aviation industries.
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