SriLankan Airlines continues to serve an important function in carrying the vast majority of travellers and cargo to and from Sri Lanka, at a time when many airlines are reducing their levels of activity to Colombo.
The National Carrier brought in 121,729 passengers in November 2006, a healthy 67.2% of the 181,092 arrivals at BIA. Although there are approximately 20 other airlines operating regular services and charters through BIA, they collectively carried only 59,363.
SriLankan also transported 115,005 outbound passengers from the Bandaranaike International Airport, which is 66.7% of the total of 172,385 departures. Other airlines totaled 57,340.
Peter Hill, CEO of SriLankan, said: “We at SriLankan Airlines are well aware of our pivotal position in the country’s economy. The management and staff of this airline take great pride in supporting the country through thick and thin, as we have in difficult situations in the past such as the Tsunami. It is our aim to continue playing a key role in facilitating travel to and from Sri Lanka at this crucial period when the travel trade is under severe stress.”
Recent cautionary travel advisories in several European countries have had an adverse effect on Sri Lanka’s image as a holiday destination. The downturn in travel to the country from some key markets have led to airlines such as Austrian, LTU and Condor reducing services and at least one charter operator pulling out altogether.
SriLankan now serves 50 destinations in 28 countries, and is carrying out a series of promotions to encourage travel to Sri Lanka. A recent promotional offer of discounted tickets drew an excellent response in Europe, and the National Carrier’s 10 destinations in India continue to send a steady flow of holidaymakers from the neighboring Subcontinent.
“We work closely with other key players such as Sri Lanka Tourism and the travel trade in promoting Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Hill.
The National Carrier also plays a key role in transporting Sri Lankans to and from the country, including business travellers, government officials, migrant workers, Sri Lankans living overseas, and leisure travellers.
SriLankan Cargo, the cargo arm of the National Carrier, continued to play its part in supporting local export industries and also in promoting Sri Lanka as a regional hub by uplifting 31,836 metric tonnes of freight, discharging 13,572 metric tonnes, and trans-shipping 25,276 metric tonnes of freight through at BIA.
SriLankan provides important services at the Bandaranaike International Airport, where it is the ground handling agent and cargo handling agent for all airlines that use the country’s only international airport.