SriLankan Airlines is resilient despite challenges: Chairman

Posted: May 5, 2012 in Airlines, Asia, India
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[Khaleej Times Interview] Airlines are facing a tough time because of rising fuel prices, but they remain resilient and continue to grow as tourism is also increasing, SriLankan Airlines chairman Nishanta Wickremasinghe said.

Chairman: “It’s a tough call for airlines now, but we are resilient and we are here to go forward”

Chairman: “It’s a tough call for airlines now, but we are resilient and we are here to go forward” – Photo: Wikipedia

Citing examples, Wickremasinghe said despite worries such as the Thailand floods, Japan tsunami, rising oil prices and unrest in the Middle East, people continue to travel, pulling the tourism industry up, and the airline sector is benefiting from it while placing orders for new aircraft.

“It’s a tough call for airlines now, but we are resilient and we are here to go forward,” Wickremasinghe told Khaleej Times at the Arabian Travel Market, or ATM, in Dubai. Tourism is to stay and airlines are to stay, he added.

Fuel price contributes around 60 per cent of the seat the passenger pays, he said, adding: “We are comfortable at the $80-per-barrel oil price and consumers also get the best [airfare] prices at this rate.”

He said the airline is upbeat in the Gulf region, the reason why it has increased its frequency to the region. The airline currently flies 47 times a week to nine countries in the Middle East, extending SriLankan’s renowned warm hospitality to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait.

“We have increased the number of flights and upgraded some of our aircraft to ensure passengers are pampered and relaxed several thousands of feet in the air,” he said.

He said because of Sri Lanka’s location and connections from Colombo, it makes it ideal for most travellers to enjoy dual holidays in the Sri Lankan capital and the Far East, or Colombo and the Maldives, for nominal fares or special packages with SriLankan.

Over the past months, SriLankan has been upgrading its long-haul aircraft cabins, with flat-beds seats installed in business class. Seats are also equipped with the latest inflight entertainment system with audio/video channels and video games. Business class passengers also have an on-demand movie library.

The airline is expected to place a dry lease order for new aircraft this year, so its total fleet size will be up to 30 by……

Read the full interview at Khaleej Times……

Abdul Basit – Khaleej Times
5th May 2012

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