WITH tourist arrivals growing by almost 50 per cent last year, flagship carrier SriLankan Airlines is pushing ahead with network expansion and capacity increases, citing Asia as its fastest-growing market.
On March 27, the airline will reactivate daily flights to Kochi, its seventh destination in India. It had served Kochi until the global financial crisis hit in 2009.
Earlier in January, SriLankan also launched a new service to Guangzhou. It currently flies to Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou thrice-weekly and Shanghai four times a week. Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe said frequency was poised to increase to five each by next year.
“We have a very close relationship with China. They’re involved in the airports, highways…We have a lot of Chinese working in Sri Lanka,” he added.
SriLankan is also making its presence felt in other continents. By the end of this year, Frankfurt, Paris, Bahrain, Doha and Muscat will see capacity increases, while new destinations on the horizon include Zurich, Amsterdam and Moscow.
Wickramasinghe added that such worldwide expansion would be met with fleet growth, as the airline was looking to increase its aircraft count, from the current 14 to 30 by early 2014.