SriLankan Airlines generated record passenger uplift out of Dubai in May, with figures up nearly 40 per cent over the previous monthly record.
Local ticket sales also hit all-time highs, up around 25 per cent, while flown revenue for the month rose 40 per cent compared to the same period in 2004, and another record was set for passenger uplift to Trivandrum.
Airline officials claim the results underline the success of its campaign to restore business and tourism links with Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami disaster last December. In addition, it further strengthens the positions of both Dubai and Colombo as regional air traffic hubs.
“Our three-phase development plan to boost traffic to and through Sri Lanka has reaped positive results, and I am pleased to see that leisure travellers are now regaining their confidence in the quality and reliability of the tourism product we offer,” said chief executive, Peter Hill.
“Working with the tourism ministry, we have focused on boosting its ‘Bounce Back Sri Lanka Programme’, and while we do not expect instant success, news of results such as those recorded by the Dubai office in May underline the fact that we are beginning to see a return to normality.”
New flights are being added to the buoyant Middle East and Indian sub-continent region this summer, including daily A330 services from Colombo to Abu Dhabi, three of which will continue on to Bahrain with the remaining four serving Doha.
In addition, the airline is adding services to Kuwait and Dammam, with nine weekly flights to the former and three to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, and there will also be a further three early morning departures from Colombo to Dubai, bringing the weekly total to 28, including codeshare operations with Emirates.
“As the major commercial and tourism hub for the region, Dubai remains our premier destination in the Middle East and these May figures demonstrate the vitality of the market, and we expect this to continue particularly given the new codeshare arrangement with Emirates on a joint Dubai-New York service,” concluded Hill.