Wednesday July 25, 2012
Airline spurred by passenger growth
SRILANKAN Airlines has plans to increase its wide-body aircraft operations after achieving passenger growth of 10% from May 2011 to May this year.
Its director and chief executive officer Kapila Chandrasena said, as of June the airlines carried 6,000 passengers on its Colombo-Kuala Lumpur route.
“SriLankan Airlines has a reputation for offering value for money and we want our customers to be happy with our services,” he said after launching its appointed general sales agent for Malaysia, AS World Vacation Sdn Bhd at Menara Hap Seng in Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur recently.
AS World Vacation will be handling operations for the airline in Kuala Lumpur, including cargo, sales, ticketing, reservations and ground operations.
“We wanted a partner who understands the market and AS World Vacation knows it well. With the new office located in the Golden Triangle, we hoped to see a rise in sales,” said Kapila.
As there are now more passengers travelling via SriLankan Airlines, he said plans to promote connecting flights at competitive rates are on the way.
“We are looking at having connecting flights to several cities in Europe such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome and Moscow,” he said, adding that there is also a market for those who go to Jeddah to perform their umrah.
“We will be looking at having the Airbus A330 aircraft, which can fit in 270 passengers,” Kapila said.
He added that it the airline will further diversify its range of products and services in order to drive Sri Lanka’s tourism and economic growth.
“The unique selling point about the national carrier is that we are certified halal. SriLankan Catering, a fully owned and award winning subsidiary of the airline, provides onboard catering services of a world-class calibre.
“Apart from that, with the present dedicated sales force, the airlines also expects to increase its growth in revenue by 40%,” said Kapila, adding that it had recorded revenue growth of 30% last year.
The national carrier operates an all-Airbus fleet consisting of A320, A330 and A340 aircraft.
Part of the expansion plan also includes acquisition of an A320 aircraft, installation of Panasonic’s EFX/Rave inflight entertainment system and cabin upgrades with leather upholstery and flatbed seats for its Business Class.
Kapila said, as Sri Lanka is a popular destination among travellers, the country’s tourism board has identified several spots to promote sports tourism.
“We currently attract surfing enthusiasts with Arugam Bay being the popular spot for surfing, while the Royal Colombo Golf Course is well-known among golfers,” he said, adding that the country is also known for its wildlife, scenic landscapes, mind and body wellness centres, cultural festivals and beaches.
The airline currently offers two daily flights between Colombo and KL.