SriLankan Airlines is proud to become the first foreign airline to operate one hundred flights per week to India. Sri Lanka’s National Carrier reached the important milestone when it added another weekly flight to its existing services to Trichy recently.
SriLankan Airlines is extremely proud to be the first foreign carrier in history to fly one hundred times a week to India. We recognised very early the important role that India plays in this part of the world, and we have been steadily increasing the number of flights, and the cities that we serve.
Coimbatore became SriLankan’s 11th destination in India. It operates two flights a day to Chennai and Mumbai, and daily or more frequent flights to New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trichy, Trivandrum, Kochi, and Calicut. There are four flights to Coimbatore, and three to Goa.
Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, said: “We offer Indian travellers rapid connections via Colombo to our 54 destinations in 28 countries throughout the world. Cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and London, are very popular with our Indian passengers.”
SriLankan carried 1.1 million passengers to and from India in the 2006/07 financial year, which accounted for 35% of the airline’s global traffic. The airline works very actively to bring tourists into India, promoting the country’s many tourism sites. It has formal partnerships with many tourism authorities such as the Kerala Department of Tourism.
Colombo’s geographical location at the southern tip of the Subcontinent makes it the ideal gateway to India. The excellent facilities at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport have earned it the reputation of being the finest airport in South Asia. A recent modernization programme there saw the construction of a new terminal with aerobridges, comfortable lounges, and a well-stocked duty free shopping complex that is second to none in the region.
Senaka Fernando, Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent & Maldives, said: “SriLankan is making a conscious effort to serve smaller cities in India, where travellers do not have access to international air travel as most other airlines are intent on serving the large cities.”
SriLankan is a firm favourite among Indians domiciled abroad, and provides seamless connections to travel home from cities such as New York, Houston, London, Paris, and Frankfurt where there are large Indian populations. It also serves the growing number of Indian students abroad, and is one of the largest carriers of Indian labour traffic to and from the Middle East where it serves nine cities.
The airline often provides special travel packages to Indian customers to travel overseas for business or pleasure, especially through its leisure arm SriLankan Holidays, and even throws in free nights in Colombo. With its value-for-money shopping – original name brand clothing, Ceylon tea, high class porcelainware, and exquisite gemstones - Sri Lanka is a popular destination among leisure travellers from India, which is the largest nation of origin for the island’s tourism industry.
The excellent conference facilities in Sri Lanka are also heavily patronised by Indian companies. The island offers the opportunity to take company staff overseas, while having the convenience of being only an hour’s flying from South India and three hours from New Delhi and Mumbai.
SriLankan has won many awards for its operations to India, including the Galileo Indian Express Award for Best Eastbound International Airline. Its global and regional accolades include “World’s Best Airline” in a survey of Economy Class passengers; “World’s Friendliest Cabin Staff”; first runner-up for “World’s Best Cabin Staff”; Best Airline in Central Asia four consecutive years; and Best Airline in South Asia three times