Travellers in the Middle East are set to benefit from new flights to Goa, complete with bonus incentives. SriLankan Airlines will add Goa to its list of global destinations from October 2006. The popular Indian coastal resort town will be the airline’s 10th destination in India and its 50th global destination.
Peter Hill, Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines, said:
‘We have been steadily expanding our presence in India as we are acutely aware of the growing importance and opportunities of the travel market both inbound and out. The new route to Goa is an exciting addition with excellent commercial prospects.’
The twice-weekly flights are scheduled for Mondays and Saturdays available from all Sri Lankan destinations to Colombo with a connecting flight to Goa.
Barry Brown, Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘As always, we will continue to explore further opportunities by increasing services to India. We are currently considering launching services to more cities, as well as increasing the frequency of flights to existing destinations.’
Bilateral travel between India and Sri Lanka is at an all-time high with Indians being among the most frequent visitors to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans being the third largest group of visitors to India, after the United States and Britain.
SriLankan is the largest foreign carrier operating in India, with nearly 100 weekly flights to New Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madras, Trichy, Trivandrum, Calicut, and Kochi.
To promote this new destination SriLankan Airlines is offering Skywards members up to 50 percent off on regular mileage for reward tickets to the coastal resort from the launch date (on October 30) until December 10, 2006.
The Skywards offer is open to members worldwide. Tickets to Goa can be booked from SriLankan’s destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, the Far East and Japan.
The offer is available in both Business and Economy Classes: a Skywards member in Middle East can travel on Economy Class to Goa and back for just 17,500 Miles (Business Class 35,000).
SriLankan’s Manager of Skywards, Ranjit De Silva said: ‘A new destination gives us the opportunity to afford a special benefit to our Skywards members and we are pleased to make this unbeatable offer to Goa. We advise Skywards members to book early before their miles expire on September 30, 2006, as well as to avoid disappointment as we anticipate heavy demand to this holiday destination.’
Skywards is an award-winning frequent flyer programme of SriLankan and its strategic partner Emirates, with over two million members; it seeks to give its members benefits beyond the travel experience. Privileges include wait-list priority for all tiers with priority check-in and airport lounge access for Gold and Silver members.
Skywards members can exchange Miles for a host of rewards such as free flights to hundreds of destinations with SriLankan, Emirates and airline partners, free holidays and other products and services with various leisure and lifestyle partners.
Skywards members can call their nearest Skywards Service Centre, the SriLankan office.
SriLankan Airlines was created in April 1998 when Air Lanka, was privatised following the establishment of a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Emirates Airline. The agreement saw Emirates take a 40 per cent shareholding in the company and undertake a 10-year management agreement, during which time SriLankan has been established as southern Asia’s preferred international carrier.
Following its transformation, SriLankan has won a string of international aviation awards including Best Airline in Central Asia from UK’s Skytrax Research for four years in a row, (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004), underlining its new reputation as a world-class carrier.
In 2003, SriLankan was voted as having the friendliest cabin crew by Skytrax, and also won the award for Best In-flight Entertainment (for a fleet size of 20 or less) at the annual World Airline Entertainment Association’s Avion awards in the USA.
Meanwhile, the airline’s sky taxi service has revolutionised domestic air travel in Sri Lanka, offering transfers between the airport and Colombo and Kandy, Koggala, Bentota, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura and Hingurakgoda - flight times from Bandaranaika International Airport are just 30 minutes to each town except for Trincomalee, which is a 45-minute transfer. The network incorporates most major tourist sites, from the beach resorts on the west coast around Bentota and Galle (Koggala), as well as Polonnaruwa (Hingurakgoda), Anuradhapura, Kandy and Trincomalee.