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DateLine Monday, 15 December 2008

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Government Gazette

Int’l operations re-launched this month :

Mihin to launch domestic flights

Mihin Lanka will introduce domestic flights to three destinations after launching their international schedule end of this month. This would be done within three months and the management hopes to lease 17 new aircraft for these operations. The airline is looking at flying to Trincomalee, Palaly and Ampara mainly targeting the local business clientele.

Chairman Mihin Lanka, Raja Edirisuriya speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ said that they want to make Mihin, the best low cost airline in the region. “We are adopting new strategies and have launched a new business model to make the airline a viable venture,” he said.

The agreement to lease a new aircraft from a French company was signed last week and the new 186 seater Boeing would arrive in Sri Lanka on 19. The wet lease agreement would be reviewed once again in three months and the airline is next looking at a more profitable one.

A four member international technical team will arrive this week to train the local airline crew for these operations.

Under the first stage the airline will operate six weekly flights to Dubai leaving Colombo at 10 p.m. In addition there would be five to three frequencies to both Trevendrum and Trichi. The Bodhgaya flights will operate from February 15.

A sum of over one million US dollars that were in arrears to companies in both India and Dubai were also paid last week.

“Mihin is a new year gift from the government to the masses,” he said. He said under the new roll out plan a home grown call centre was established with an investment of less than Rs. 200,000.

“Earlier Rs. 2.5 million was spent to maintain it each month,” he said. The hotline for the call centre is 2002255.

The new CEO, Kapila Chandrasensa said the operations would be highly profit oriented and the airline would be a mixture of a low cost and a full service airline.

“We are not going to eat into the SriLankan airlines market and are looking at new synergies to tap the masses,” he said. The fares would be less than the current prices and enhanced on board service would be offered for Dubai flight.

“While the Dubai flight targets the Sri Lankan expat workers the Indian flights would be mainly for Indian passengers who wants to fly international from Colombo.

Indian flights (Bodhgaya) will also target first time travelers and the Buddhist pilgrims who cannot afford high airfares,” he said. He also aid the global airline industry is facing a crisis due to the world economic downturn. “However good governance would allow Mihin to stay afoot,” he said.


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