SriLankan boosts flights to Doha and Bahrain

SriLankan Airlines introduced an additional flight between Colombo, Doha and Bahrain from December 6, as part of an ongoing initiative to improve service in the Middle East region. The circle flight operating on Fridays, adds to the two non-stop flights from Doha to Colombo and another two flights via Bahrain.

SriLankan Airlines Manager for Qatar Lakshman Weerasooriya said ‘The additional flight will help meet current demand we are experiencing on flights on the Doha Colombo route.’

The move signifies Doha’s importance in SriLankan Airlines’ network, particularly as it has performed well for the first five months of the current financial year, growing by about 50 percent over the previous year.

The additional flight pushes up SriLankan Airlines’ services into the Middle East to about 46 flights a week, increasing the number of connections available to passengers flying to Colombo or to India, the Maldives and the Far East.

‘We need to plan for further growth, and as a preferred carrier into South Asia, we have to constantly innovate our service to keep up with customer expectations and convenience,’

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Weerasooriya said.

Keeping pace with the growing demand in the Qatar market, SriLankan Airlines recently introduced the convenience of e-tickets, making it one of the first international airlines to promote new technology in the Middle East state.

The e-ticket will replace the current paper ticket by 2007 as part of an International Air Transport Association (IATA) initiative to streamline the booking process and curtail operational costs for airlines.

SriLankan Airlines has aggressively introduced e-tickets across its network, relieving travellers of the burden of lost, forgotten, misplaced and damaged tickets.

The series of new services hinges on the airline’s 2006 strategy to enhance frequencies to the Middle East, reinforce its award winning service and support the region’s growing leisure travel segment.

The leisure travel segment will be a key focus for SriLankan Airlines, connecting holiday makers with a wide range of destinations regularly, including the Maldives, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, China, Japan and ten destinations in India.

The strategy for 2006 also saw SriLankan Airlines improve its services to India, with the addition of Goa in October, reinforcing its strength as most frequent foreign carrier into the subcontinent.

The airline is also studying the potential of increasing frequencies to key cities in India, including Bombay and Calicut, while studying the potential of adding Ahmedabad and Coimbatore to its scheduled services.
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