SriLankan Air To Take Off On New Routes In S-E Region

Mumbai, Nov 16: | Updated: Nov 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
SriLankan Airlines is launching a new operating initiative to enhance and increase its routes in the South East region, and add new routes and launch air taxi services within Sri Lanka. This comes close on the heels of the recent liberalisation of the bilateral air services agreement between India and Sri Lanka.

The airline is also rationalising flight timings around the world to provide common timings for each destination, for increased efficiency and customer service. It has also set into motion an ambitious growth plan and is all set to acquire seven more aircraft.

Two additional Airbus A340s, which are wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft, joined the fleet in October 2003. The airline is also acquiring two additional Airbus A320s in the near future. Two Cessna Caravan aircraft are also scheduled to add to the fleet by the end of this month.

SriLankan Cargo, the cargo arm of the airline, also recently acquired its second Antonov AN12 dedicated freighter aircraft. With the above expansion, SriLankans fleet will comprise 18 aircraft - five A340s, four A330s, five A320s, two Antonov AN12s, and two Cessna Caravans.

The A340s will operate mainly on routes to Europe and the Far East, and their arrival coincides with the increase of flights starting with the winter 2003 schedule, which sees 11 weekly flights to London, five to Zurich, four to Paris, three to Frankfurt, and daily flights to Kuala Lumpur.

SriLankan Airline CEO Peter Hill said: The arrival of these aircraft signifies the companys confidence in the future, and our faith that our new operating strategy will bring us every success.

The two A320s will enable expansion of services and opening of new routes in the South Asian region, all of which are in the planning stages. The AN12 freighter will allow the airline to increase its cargo distribution services throughout the South Asian and South East Asian regions.

SriLankan cargo will also launch services to Bangkok shortly. It already serves Karachi, the Maldives, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.