SriLankan marks significant growth
SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka’s national carrier achieved a significant growth in passenger transportation compared to the last two consecutive years, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said.
The minister said with new aircraft being deployed to the SriLankan Airlines fleet, passenger transportation to and from all destinations increased significantly.
“Paralleled to the passenger volume increase, cargo transportation has also shown a slight growth compared to last year,” he said.
The biggest increase in passenger transaction volume was recorded from Middle East destinations. SriLankan Airlines recorded a 26 percent increase in the number of passengers from Middle East this year, compared to 2011/2012 financial year. The airline operates to nine destinations in Middle East. During the 2012/2013 financial year, SriLankan Airlines transported 463,999 passengers from the nine destinations in the Middle East compared to 342,290 passengers during the 2011/2012 financial year, Jayaratne said.
“Apart from other destinations including Europe, the airlines recognises the Middle East as one of the fastest growing markets. Within Middle East, SriLankan Airlines operates 48 flights a week to five Gulf countries across eight destinations, including; Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Kuwait, Doha in Qatar, Muscat in Oman and Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said. Moves are also under way to double the present annual passenger volume to 12 million by 2015. An average of 6.2 million passengers enter or leave the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) per year.
The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), the second international airport in the country commissioned in March this year, opened new avenues for both SriLankan and Mihin Lanka to commence operations, the minister said.
He said at the initial stage, MRIA will handle one million passengers annually. “Apart from the increase in the passenger volume, additional measures are being taken to make Sri Lanka as the aviation hub of Asia. More airlines will reach the country in the future while SriLankan and Mihin Lanka will fly to several more destinations,” the minister added.
SriLankan Airlines currently operates a fleet of 21 aircraft - including wide-bodied A340 and A330 airbuses and mid-range A320s airbus as well. Recently, new A320-200s and A330-200s were added to the fleet, replacing existing aircraft with fuel-efficient, modern aircraft.