SriLankan Airlines adds China flights eying connectivity to India, Middle East
COLOMBO, Nov 21, 2014 (EconomyNext) – SriLankan Airlines adds Kunming next month as its fifth destination in China from where increasing numbers of tourists visit the island which also provides connecting flights to India and the Middle East.
A statement from the national carrier said it will be operating three weekly flights to Kunming from December 01, departing Colombo on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1835 hours, and arriving in Kunming at 0150 hours.
The return flight will depart Kunming at 0255 hours to arrive in Colombo at 0545 hours.
The carrier currently operates 15 weekly flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Hong Kong and the new route will mark its presence in South-western China as well.
"This addition of a new destination will benefit the passengers who are seeking onward connections to Middle East, India and the Maldives," it said.
"With 40 flights a week to eight Middle Eastern cities, 88 weekly flights to seven Indian destinations and 36 weekly frequencies to Male, SriLankan passengers can now enjoy seamless connectivity from Colombo."
SriLankan’s codeshare services to the Seychelles with its sister carrier, Mihin Lanka, also provides a greater convenience for the leisure travellers, the statement said.
“SriLankan Airlines has always viewed the Far East as one of its priority markets," the airline’s Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena said.
"A gradual increase in the number of tourists seeking Sri Lanka for holidaying has driven the airline to look into more expansion opportunities to cater to the growing demand as well as to motivate more travellers from both countries to explore the beauty of the two destinations."
He said the airline’s first new A330-300 aircraft added to the fleet recently as part of the wide-body fleet renewal programme will be assigned primarily on the Far Eastern Routes such as Bangkok, Tokyo, Canton and Beijing.
“China is very much part of the long term strategy of SriLankan to evolve its network. In addition to our scheduled operations to China, SriLankan currently operates a weekly charter flight to Chongqing which will continue till mid-December until we resume operations in January next year,” Chandrasena said.
According to Tourist Board statistics, from January to October this year, Sri Lanka has received 106,888 tourists from China, a 139 percent increase from the same period last year.
With 54,000 Chinese travellers choosing the national carrier to travel to the island in 2013, the airline, due to the high demand from the sector, expects a total of 120,000-140,000 Chinese travellers to visit the country by the end of this year.