SriLankan Airlines to axe Rome, boost Middle East, China
ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines will axe its loss-making run to Rome and boost frequencies to China, India and the Middle East after getting using its newly acquired Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
SriLankan Airlines said it was responding to competition by "re-evaluating its current operations and re-deploying capacity to more sustainable routes and destinations."
The airline said it will continue non-stop flights from Colombo to London as the ‘main gateway’ to Europe. It will fly to Paris four times a week and a fight Frankfurt flight will be added during summer 2016.
SriLankan has said it was losing money on European routes, especially with older fuel-guzzling A340 aircraft which have now been phased out.
An earlier attempt to cut the Rome flight was reportedly thwarted by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa following lobbying by sections of the clergy.
Sri Lanka’s high end tourist hotel lobby is also pressuring the airline to operate loss-making routes to Europe at the expense of the people to safeguard their own profits.
The airline started to lose money after Dubai-based Emirates terminated its management deal over a disagreement with the ousted Rajapaksa regime.
SriLankan said it will start daily flights to Riyadh and six flights a week to Jeddah. It now flies 42 times week to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait in the Middle East.
SriLankan operates 88 flights a week to seven Indian destinations and 26 flights to Male.
The carrier said its South Asian operations are also a lynchpin of its partnership with OneWorld, a global airline alliance.
China, which is catching up with India as the top tourist destination is also a key focus area. The airline said I recently started to fly non-stop three times a week to Guangzhou.
It flies to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Kunming in the mainland 18 times a week and three times a week to Hong Kong.
SriLankan operates 19 flights week to Singapore and twice a day to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.