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SriLankan and Mihin Lanka to acquire 9 more aircraft

SriLankan and Mihin Lanka airlines would acquire nine additional aircraft to increase its capacity to 30 in the next three years said Chairman SriLankan Airlines, Nishantha Wickramasinghe. Speaking at a press conference at The Arabian Travel Mart he said that currently both airlines have 21 aircraft and this would be made 30 by 2015. He said that they would also add Seoul to the airline radar by the end of this year and would also increase frequencies to India by the end of this year.

For the first time SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka marketed both airlines at the Arabian Travel Mart. Here officials of the two airlines at their stand in Dubai. picture by Shirajiv Sirimane

The airline currently flies 47 times a week to nine of the GCC countries in the Middle East, extending SriLankan’ s renowned warm hospitality to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait.

Since last year, SriLankan increased its frequencies to Bahrain (three to four), Doha (five to daily), Muscat (two to four) and Jeddah (three) each week. From May 01, the airline will have a daily direct service to Kuwait.

Flights to Kuwait were earlier routed through Dubai, so re-linking the two cities will ensure speedier outbound travel for passengers to Colombo and beyond.

“This is a 42% increase,” he said. From January to April this year, our cabin factors in the Middle East have gone up 90% year-on-year. This is a remarkable achievement which also shows the confidence travellers of the Gulf region have on SriLankan Airlines,”

He said that the airline has rapid expansion plans for this year and has aggressive plans for the country’s second international airport in Mattala. The Ambassador to Sri Lanka in UAE Sarath Wijesinghe said that UAE is one of the biggest trading partners of Sri Lanka with over US $ one billion trade between the two countries last year. With the visit of the UAE Foreign Minister to Sri Lanka next month more investments would follow. Sri Lanka is looking at working with Dubai Port World to market the Hambantota Port.

Talks would also be held soon with the Dubai Port World to seek their assistance to promote the Hambantota harbour.

Investment opportunities for Sri Lankans in UAE is also great as several international consortiums operating from the UAE are ready to extend credit facilities for mega projects that are over US $ one billion.

This could be for both the private and government sector.

 

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