By Ahamd DaoudAir Aviation News – SriLankan Airlines is introducing two additional flights to Muscat from December 23. It increases the frequency of its flights to Oman to four a week – Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“Our first flight to Muscat was in 1983. Muscat has emerged as an important point in our Middle Eastern portfolio of destinations,” Lal Perera, SriLankan Airlines regional manager Middle East and Africa, said at a press conference at the Al Falah Hotel. “Until the end of November this year, 85,990 people from GCC countries travelled to Colombo. In 2010, the figure was 60,109, an increase of 43 per cent.”
He said air fares to Colombo from the GCC dropped 50 per cent in the past five years because of competition. “Competition inevitably leads to expansion and upgradation of the airlines and its services, and passengers benefit by way of fare cuts.”
He said that besides being a ‘worker and business traffic market’, the airlines showed great potential as a Leisure and VFR (Visiting Friends and Family) market. “SriLankan Airlines operates to seven cities in India — Bangalore, Mumbai, Madras, Delhi, Trichy, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi — with 64 flights per week. This increases to 77 after December 23,” he said.
“This means that we’re further facilitating swift outbound passenger travel from Muscat to south Indian destinations and Far East destinations (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta) via Colombo. This is a boon to hundreds of commercial travellers.”
SriLankan Airlines manager, Oman, Lakshman Weerasooriya said the new era of peace in Sri Lanka had led to increase in passengers travelling to Sri Lanka on vacation.
The airline’s overhaul of fleet’s cabin interiors is scheduled to be completed by July 2012. With its fleet of 21 aircraft, SriLankan Airlines operates to 61 destinations in 33 countries. The latest destination is Zurich from December 23.