ECONOMYNEXT- SriLankan Airlines, the state-owned national carrier, will reduce its flight frequencies to China due to falling consumer demand following the novel coronavirus outbreak, a statement said.
“Due to prevailing demand conditions, SriLankan will temporarily reduce flight frequencies to China according to the long-term policies of the airline,” a statement in Sinhala said.
“Following the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese outbound tourism has fallen significantly.”
“Other airlines too have reduced their flight frequencies to China due to a fall in demand, after the Chinese government limited foreign travel for its nationals.”
SriLankan said the flights between Colombo and three Chinese cities will be reduced from February 06 to March 28.
Flights to Beijing and Shanghai will fall to twice a week from normal four times, while flights to Canton will fall to three from seven a week.
The national carrier said the unused aircraft will be diverted to busier routes. This would allow aircraft normally plying busy routes to receive maintenance.
The aircraft released from flights to China will also replace the wide-bodied aircraft flying to Abu Dhabi, which are due for upgrades.
SriLankan will also attempt to increase business from other routes until end-March from the flexibility the surplus aircraft affords, the statement said. (Colombo/Feb05/2020)