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Friday December 9th, 2022

SriLankan Airlines traffic falls as newcomer steals market share

ECONOMYNEXT- State-owned national carrier SriLankan Airlines brought 641,634 tourists to the country in 2017, down 2.1 percent from a year earlier, with market share lost to other Asian carriers, the government tourism office said.

Total arrivals to Sri Lanka from flights, charter flights and ships had increased 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.1 million tourists in 2017, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said. 

SriLankan’s market share in bringing tourists to Sri Lanka either directly, or through connecting flights fell to 30.3 percent from 32 percent in 2016.

The fall in SriLankan’s business came even after absorbing Mihin Lanka in November 2017, and reporting all of Mihin’s traffic under the national carrier for the entire year. Mihin brought in 23,792 tourists to the country a year earlier.

Emirates remained the second, bringing 303,732 tourists, down 10.3 percent from 2016, while Qatar Airways stayed in the third position with 159,418 tourists, down 0.5 percent.

Sriwijaya Air, an Indonesian carrier which started operations to Sri Lanka in 2017 broke away 136,434 tourists from established carriers, pushing down Jet Airways to the fifth spot with 70,413 tourists, a 35.3 percent fall from a year earlier.

China Eastern, Air Asia, Air India, Korean Airlines and Royal Dutch Airlines were other carriers which grew strongly, while tourists coming on charter flights grew fourfold to 51,379.

Of the 680,901 Western Europeans who visited the country, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, SriLankan brought in 126,740, down 19.1 percent from 2016. This was due to the airline stopping loss-making routes to Paris, Frankfurt and Milan.

SriLankan’s market share for Western Europe fell to 18.6 percent from 24.4 percent a year earlier.

Emirates too saw tourist numbers slip 7.8 percent to 183,937 tourists.

The third largest supplier for Western Europe, Qatar Airways, gained marginally to 113,100 tourists, while fourth and fifth place Etihad and Oman Air stole market share away from other players.

Sriwijaya also broke market share away from other airlines, bringing 25,253 tourists.

SriLankan brought in 263,083 South Asian tourists to Sri Lanka in 2017, up 1.9 percent from 2016. This was a 50.8 percent market share, up from 50.3 percent in 2016.

SriLankan started a restructure to become a more regional airline in 2017. However, the South Asian tourism market fell 0.9 percent for Sri Lanka from a year earlier, with 518,085 tourists.

Sriwijaya was the closest competitor, bringing 53,862 South Asians.

Sriwijaya Air pushed down Jet Airways and SpiceJet from the number two and three spots to third and sixth place respectively, with the two Indian carriers losing around half their traffic from a year earlier.

Emirates and Air India managed to hold on to their numbers and market share in 2017.

The third largest market for SriLankan was East Asia, bringing in 155,136 tourists, up 27.2 percent from a year earlier.

The market share for SriLankan from East Asia grew to 34.9 percent from 28.7 percent a year earlier.

Total tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from East Asia had been 444,310 in 2017, up 4.5 percent from 2016.

The national carrier began direct flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China eliminating stopovers via Bangkok, and started flights to Bangkok with higher frequency during 2017.

Sriwijaya Airlines came second, breaking away 38,559 tourists from carriers with established flights to Sri Lanka.

Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Air, China Eastern, Air China and Cathay Pacific lost traffic to Sri Lanka.

The 161,967 Eastern European tourists (up 0.5 percent from 2016) preferred Middle Eastern carriers, with Emirates having an 18 percent share, and FlyDubai 17 percent.

SriLankan’s market share for Eastern Europeans fell to 6.1 percent from 10.9 percent, with tourist numbers down 43.6 percent to 9,915.

SriLankan was the leading operator out of the Middle East, bringing 24,775 tourists, down 30.8 percent from a year earlier, while the market share fell to 25.9 percent from 33.3 percent.

Total arrivals from Middle East too had fallen 11.2 percent from 2016 to 95,581 tourists, with airlines based in the region, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Saudia also recording falls in tourist traffic.

Although arrivals to Sri Lanka from Australasia grew 9.7 percent from a year earlier to 92,003 tourists, SriLankan brought in 21,841 tourists, down 36.3 percent.

The market share for SriLankan fell to 23.7 percent from 32 percent a year earlier. This is despite SriLankan starting a new service to Melbourne in October 2017.

Emirates’ volumes also slipped, while Singapore Airlines made some gains. The disruption in this region came from AirAsia, growing 479.4 percent from 2016 to bring 9,038 tourists. (Colombo/Nov05/2018)



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Sri Lanka president slams power regulator chief after conflicting with minister

ECONOMYNET – The powers to change the electricity tariff in Sri Lanka is vested with the Minister of Power and not the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL), President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliament.

The minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekara has requested an upward price revision to be implemented in two phases both in January and July next year, saying the recent tariff hike was not enough for the state-run utility provider Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to continue uninterrupted power supply.

However, Jaynaka Ratnayake, the Chairman of the PUCSL had said  the recent tariff hike is enough for the CEB to cover the cost of production and it will not allow another price hike. However, he has said a twice a year price revision is necessary though it should be in April and October instead of January and July.

President Wickremesinghe said the PUCSL chief was opposing the tariff hike due to his personal reasons.

“The power is vested with the Minister and me. I am the one who made the PUCSL act and I know what is in it,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament on Thursday. quoting a letter from the Attorney General which mentioned provisions in the island nation’s Electricity Act.

Accordingly the Act, the PUCSL would be statutorily obliged to give effect to such policy. It is observed that neither the Act nor the PUCSL Act contains any provisions that empowers the PUCSL to change or act invariant of such policy guidelines.

“The Chairman of the PUCSL is misguiding the general public. I have to meet him and see,” Wickremesinghe said.

WIckremesinghe said the Chairman does not want the tariff hike because he owns one of the highest electricity consuming companies.

“He is the Chairman of the Trillium corporation. It is the firm that takes up the most energy”, he said.

The Trillium group is managed by Janaka Ratnayake and he also holds positions as the chairman and CEO of Trillium Property Management & Services Ltd., City Housing and Real Estate PLC, Trillium Residencies Ltd., Computer Care (Pvt) Ltd., and Rent a Comp Services (Pvt) Ltd., and JR Management Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.

“It means when the electricity bill increases, his expenses increase as well”

He said the CEB still has a loss of 300 billion rupees since 2013 and it needs to be covered.

The CEB issue can be solved only in three ways, either printing more money, increasing value added tax or increasing the tariffm, he said. (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Sri Lanka President bemoans over inconsistent LNG deals

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe bemoaned over successive governments’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal that has brought in all the world powers into the discussion.

Wickremesinghe’s center-right United National Party (UNP) had discussions with India and Japan between 2002-2004 for an LNG project.

“Following dialogues with India and Japan, the UNP government could come to agreements to get two LNG power plants. After we were defeated the successor government, without cancelling those agreements granted it to New Fortress company in USA,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament.

“Thereafter, as they did not like New Fortress, they gave it back to Pakistan and China. So within the same premises, there were China, Pakistan, India, USA, Japan and only Russia was not there.”

“It was wonderful that a world war did not ignited there as there were five main powers in the world.”

“Now there is no LNG or anything here and now they ask me to solve this issue.”

Wickremesighe’s outburst comes as his government is forced to raise tariffs on power prices after successive governments failed to implement cheap and renewable power generation projects.

He said a total loss for the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board since 2013 was 300 billion rupees and a possible drought next year could increase the 2023 electricity cost to 420 billion rupees.

“If it rained, we need Rs. 352 billion while Rs. 295 is required if rained so much to have floods. How are we going to find this money? We would have to print money, but Rupee would depreciate. We would have to increase VAT but it would increase the price of all commodities or to charge it direct.” (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Air quality drop forces Sri Lanka to close schools; public warned

ECONOMYNEXT – A rapid drop in air quality in Sri Lanka has forced the Colombo government to close all schools across the country after a deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The Education Ministry, issuing a special notice on Thursday said, it has decided to close all government schools for Friday, after discussing with the officials in Meteorology Department and Disaster Management Center.

An official said the drop was due to the deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal carrying the air from India.

Due to the depression over South east Bay of Bengal (370 km east of Trincomalee) has concentrated into a cyclonic storm “Mandous” by Wednesday night.

“Cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that is the prime reason for the increase in the pollution load as we receive more wind from India,” H.D.S.Premasiri, Senior Scientist, Coordinator-Air Quality, noise and vibrations at National Building Research Organization (NBRO) told EconomyNext on Thursday.

Officials said there is a likelihood of the cyclone moving west-northwestwards and further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm tonight and cross North Tamil-Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh coast around midnight of 09 th December and the maximum wind speeds will be 70-90 km per hour and can increase up to 90 in sea areas.

“Hopefully, today we can expect normalization in the environment and the effects of the fog will disappear”.

According to the NBRO’s real time Air Quality Index Indicator, the quality of air in northwestern coastal district of Puttalam has dropped drastically and indicated a particular matter (PM) 132, while Kegalle (85) and Mannar (84) were the districts which had next worst air quality.

According to NBRO, Battaramulla, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kegalle, Mannar and Puttalam indicate a poor quality of air due to higher PM.

“The fog will lead to lung and breathing issues,” Premasiri said.

“So the public is warned to wear a mask when they travel outside. The pollution highly prevails in city areas and has a less impact on the other parts of the areas.” (Colombo/ Dec08/2022)

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