The month of March 2002 has yielded an unprecedented seat factor for SriLankan Airlines, the highest ever on record.
“We are running full flights all around our route network and have achieved an 86.03 per cent seat factor overall,” says SriLankan`s Head of Commercial G T Jeyaseelan. “The month of March falls within the busy period for air travel. Nevertheless, the seat factor we achieved has overshot the target by several percentage points.”
Jeyaseelan attributes this upward trend to several reasons. “After July 24th (2001), we were forced to carefully and purposefully re-look our situation, focus more sharply on market economics and determinedly move forward. The results are very encouraging. This is all due to the hard work of our country managers and their sales teams on the field, the dedication and commitment of our revenue management and pricing teams and the technical expertise, advice and training in revenue management given to us by our strategic partner Emirates. No doubt the peace initiatives that are ongoing have played an important part.
“Since November we have also aggressively promoted Sri Lanka in our destinations overseas by undertaking tactical commercial promotions such as a `buy one, get one free` package and complimentary stays in Sri Lanka for transit passengers. Apart from our regular holidays and stopovers programmes, we also began marketing special interest tours to Sri Lanka.”
“The shifting of our revenue management team to Dubai last year and the assistance of proven revenue management techniques from our strategic partner Emirates, also helped push up our seat factor and revenue,” says Jeyaseelan.
The highest seat factor achieved by the airline previously was 84.19 per cent in August 1990 when SriLankan had a fleet comprising two Tristar L1011-500s, two Tristar L1011-100s and one Boeing 737. At present SriLankan`s fleet comprises three Airbus A340s, four A330s and one A320.
Jeyaseelan is confident that the airline will achieve a higher seat factor than targeted for April 2002. “Since last November when we re-assessed our market situation, we have seen a steady increase in seat factor.
“The airline is in an upbeat mood with these results which have been achieved when the commercial aviation industry worldwide is in recession. The ultimate benefit is not for us at SriLankan, but for our country for we bring in over 50 per cent of the tourists who visit this country.”