Asia particularly India is a very important destination for the airline and it gives top priority to the region, the Airline Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said on Thursday.

Wickremasinghe was here on the sidelines of a reception hosted to him by SriLankan Permanent Representative to United Nations Ambassador Palitha Kohona.

"We now fly 48 flights a week from India and they will go up to 60 in 2014 and peak with 70 flights by 2015. The travelers come to Colombo for onward connection to Middle East and Far East as we plan to make Colombo an important hub," he said.

"We cover most of the cities in India. For instance we fly four times a day from Chennai to Colombo and once a day from Madurai, Tiruchi and Kochi and also from Delhi and Mumbai with near full capacity on every flight. We also operate flights to Bodh Gaya and Varanasi to cater to Buddhist passengers," he added.

The airlines is planning to expand the Indian market and looking at new destinations to fly to and from the neighboring country. "We have not exhausted all the routes given to us under the bilateral agreement and have room to include more destinations," he said.

Asia is a place where remunerative pricing is in place and from where the Airline can fly passengers to destinations in China, Japan, Far East, South East Asia and Middle East. The future for any airline is in Asia, he said.

SriLankan Airlines has mutual code-share services with Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Air Canada, Royal Jordanian, Alitalia and Mihin Lanka. Air India and Saudi Arabian Airlines, also code-share on some of Sri Lankan’s routes.

Colombo is the fastest hub to reach Jakarta and Manila from India besides the Gulf and the UK. Most of our travelers are not point to point but use Colombo for their onward journey, he said.


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