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'Lanka could aim high with re-developed Colombo Airport'

ACCOLADE: The re-developed Colombo airport is one of the best in the region and is far superior to Indian airports, Country Manager, Qatar airways, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, R. Bharathan said.

He said that he was first in Sri Lanka in 2002 and the Colombo airport was in a very sad state.

"When you see the airport today it has gone through a major positive turnaround," he said.

The rapid development at the Colombo airport would make Sri Lanka's aim to be an aviation regional hub a reality.

He said that the building of the second international airport at Weerawila gives a strong message to the international community that Sri Lanka's economy is strong.

"Otherwise how can the country have the money to build a second airport," he asked.

He also said that the aviation community also has confidence in a country when there is a second airport, as they know that there is backup.

He said that they have been committed to Sri Lanka, as Sri Lanka was their first international destination outside the Gulf and the destination had been very successful for them.

"As our part of commitment to the country we built houses and flew humanitarian aid for tsunami affected victims and recently operated nearly 10 charter flights free to Lebanon to bring back Sri Lank house maids.

Bharathan said their latest commitment to Sri Lanka is the special fares that are being offered to their 15 European destinations nearly 50 percent less than the usual fare. In addition a buy one get one free offer is given for the business class.

These fares are being offered through the travel agents as the airline feels that the Travel Agents are the livelihood of the industry and they should be protected.

"We are a responsible airline looking at the sustainability of the travel agents as well," he said.

They now operate 14 flights a week to Sri Lanka and they operate on a over 80 percent seat factor. The airline would also fly the Sri Lankan contingent for the Asian games beginning next week in Doha.

Qatar Airways boosted its tally of international honours by grabbing four key accolades at the 12th World Travel Awards during at the recently concluded World Travel Market in London.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was honoured with the 2005 Airline Personality Of the Year Award. The airline also picked up awards for World's Leading Flat Bed Seat, Best In-flight Meal Service and Leading Airline in the Middle East.

 

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