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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka gets 1,000 air passengers a day as scheduled carriers and charters return

NEW BIRDS: Sunday Airlines, the charter arm of Kazakh carrier SCAT became is latest airline to fly to Sri Lanka.

ECOMOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is getting about 1,000 passengers a day including tourists and returning residents after airports formally opened in January with the bulk of tourist traffic coming to Mattala airport, an official said.

A planned ‘air-bubble’ with India and vaccination progress around the world will help boost the aviation sector,

“On average with repatriation and tourists we get about 1000 passengers per day coming to the country,” Shehan Sumanasekara, Chief Director-Operations (All airports), Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) told EconomyNext.

“From January 21st, we have got most of the airlines which were previously running to Sri Lanka on schedule basis.”

Sri Lanka used to get over 5 million foreign and SriLanka arrivals a month (over 13,500 a day), mainly from Katunayake before Coronavirus lockdowns stopped tourism, expatriate and business traffic.

SriLankan, Qatar, Etihad, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, China Eastern, Oman Airlines, Singapore and Kuwait Airways and Salam Airways have started.

This month AirAstana from Kazakshtan started regular charters. On Thursday Sri Lanka saw the first flight by Sunday Airlines, the charter arm of Kazakh carrier SCAT Airlines.

Sumanasekara said since opening Bandaranayake Airport (BIA) received about 478 tourists’ arrivals and the Mattala Rajapaksa Airport (MRIA) has welcomed about 3,000 tourists since airports re-opened in January 21.

Sri Lanka welcomed about 1,635 tourists in January 2021 after airports were re-opened and post-Coronavirus tourism resumed under a ‘bio-bubble’ concept of limiting contact with the resident population.

The top five tourist source markets during January 2021 were Ukraine, Belarus, China, Russian Federation and Germany. Travelers from the Netherlands, Canada, India, the United States and Maldives have also visited the country.

Sri Lanka’s tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga in a statement to parliament claimed that the island had got more tourists in the first month than Maldives, despite having tighter restrictions.

Maldives welcomed 91,000 tourists in January 2021, with most coming from Russia and India.

Maldives received 20,973 tourists from Russia, 19,135 from India, 7,210 from Ukraine and 4,434 from Kazakshtan.

India’s was Sri Lanka’s top source of tourists before airports closed in March 2020.

Air-bubble with India

“India has been a key tourism market for Sri Lanka. But if we could finalize the air-bubble concept with India, we would see the numbers growing.”

Sri Lanka is in talks with India to resume air travel and tourism following a proposal by India on setting up an ‘air-bubble’ between the two countries.

Vinod K Jacob Indian Deputy High-Commissioner said in a business forum in Colombo that the Sri Lanka had responded positively to the proposal.

Sri Lanka’s airport and tourism authorities have said at first they had testing and health facilities to cater to about 3,300 passengers a day involving 2,500 tourists and 750 paid quarantine passengers a day.

“Still largely, global tourism is at a very immature stage, people are not travelling,” Sumanasekara said.

With vaccination just begining global airports were still running at about 10 percent pre-Covid-19 capacity, he said.

But the global vaccination campaign is expected to make strong progress in about six months.

“Until that happens we will not see the numbers going up drastically but surely, numbers will pick up steadily.”

RelatedSingapore Airlines group starts flying with vaccinated crew

Singapore airlines said Wednesday that they had begun flights with fully vaccinated crew. (Colombo/Feb12/2021)

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Sri Lanka shares edge up at close

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares edged up on Wednesday pushed as investors bought in to beaten down shares following the previous session’s drop, market analyst said.“

At this price level what we are seeing is a lot of confidence from the investors to collect when the prices drop. So, the market is not falling sharply,” a market analyst said.

Market had also seen buying in Expolanka shares on speculation that the parent company of SG Holdings was buying back into the shares.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged up by 0.96 percent or 84.96 points to 8,950.01.

The most liquid index S&P SL20 gained 1.27 percent or 35.02 points to 2,799.53.

Banking and Insurance counters had seen interest on the back of positive sentiments from the IMF.

The central bank has said it could cut interest rates in future when the the country sees fall in inflation, which has already started decelerating.

The market saw a turnover of 1.5 billion rupees today,lower than the month’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees and nearly half of 2022 average turnover of 2.9 billion rupees.

The bourse saw a flow of net foreign inflow of 45 million rupees extending the net offshore buying to 1.9 billion so far this year.

Top gainers of the day were Commercial Bank, Expolanka, and Ceylinco Insurance. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)






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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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