Sri Lanka Tourism looks at a busy winter season with more European carriers flying to Colombo.
Daily FT: With more European carriers planning to fly into Colombo from next month, Sri Lanka Tourism anticipates a busy winter season.
Swiss leisure airline – Edelweiss, French flag carrier – Air France, Netherlands flag carrier – Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), and Russia’s largest charter airline – Azur Air will resume service to Colombo from the first week of November.
The resumption of airline operations in Sri Lanka is a reflection of the efforts made by the Tourism Ministry internationally, to revive the industry ahead of the winter season.
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando has announced that Air France and KLM Airlines are all set to resume operations into Colombo on 4 November.
As per the Minister, Air France and KLM Airlines will operate four flights a week to Colombo, auguring well for Sri Lanka to attract more European travellers for the upcoming winter season.
Separately, the Civil Aviation Authority Director-General and Chief Executive Officer P.A. Jayakantha told the Daily FT that Switzerland’s leading leisure travel airline and sister company of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) – Edelweiss, will operate a weekly flight from 10 November.
He also said that Russia’s largest charter airline – Azur Air will resume service to Colombo from 3 November with four flights per week.
Jayakantha stated that around 32 airlines are currently registered with the CAA, including 21 scheduled passenger carriers; whilst more are likely to begin services to Colombo very soon.
Immediately after reopening borders post-pandemic, only eight international airlines and 15 charter carriers were operating in Sri Lanka. Thereafter, air traffic to Sri Lanka gradually rose with multiple international airlines operating into Colombo. Post-pandemic, a total of 37 international airlines operated in Sri Lanka.
However, given the ongoing economic crisis, several airlines were contemplating suspending their operations in Sri Lanka as no credible solution was in sight to resolve the jet fuel shortage and the fund repatriation issues faced by the country’s aviation industry. The jet fuel shortage also threatened the triple-hit tourism industry’s recovery, which depends largely on air connectivity.
The situation compelled several international airlines, including the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, to use Trivandrum, Chennai and Kochi airports in South India as refuelling bases before continuing to Sri Lanka. The fuel shortage also prompted airlines to cut down on capacity to Colombo.
“At present, all aircraft receive adequate fuel supply as per their requirements. So far, there have been no disruptions so far and we expect the situation will continue to be so,” Jayakantha added.
There is an increase in the number of international airlines operating flights to Sri Lanka indicating an increase in tourist arrivals to the country. The exposure received by Sri Lanka as a must visit tourist destination in the foreign media and the many promotions carried out in key tourist source markets have all helped boost Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. The steady growth in tourist arrivals to the country are indicative of the growth and business potential in the country’s tourism industry. All these have resulted in the expansion of business/investment opportunities in the country’s tourism as well as airport and aviation sectors. Apart from the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka’s leisure and hospitality sectors, there are also growing opportunities in the country’s airport and aviation industries. With Sri Lanka also looking at becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region, foreign businesses/investors could explore the expanding opportunities in the country, especially in the tourism, airport and aviation industries in Sri Lanka.
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