SriLankan Airlines will launch a new twice-weekly direct service from Milan to Colombo on 16th December, to enhance Italian tourism into Sri Lanka and serve the sizable Sri Lankan community in northern Italy.
The new service will support the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to encourage Sri Lankan expatriates residing overseas to visit their native land following the Dawn of Peace. Apart from northern Italy, it will also serve travellers in neighbouring regions such as the south of France and southern Switzerland.
Nishanta Wickremasinghe, Chairman of SriLankan, said: “SriLankan Airlines firmly believes that its responsibilities as the National Carrier are of paramount importance, and we are launching this service after considering the requests of the Sri Lankan community in the region, and carefully studying the tourism potential as well.”
Milan is Italy’s second largest city with its metropolitan area having a population of 7.4 million. It is considered one of the major financial centres in Europe.
The National Carrier launched services to Rome last December, which serves the southern and central regions of Italy, and will continue to fly twice-weekly to the Italian capital.
Major tourism markets, including those in Europe, are expected to relax their travel advisories for Sri Lanka following the Dawn of Peace, and the National Carrier is supporting efforts to enhance awareness of Sri Lanka as a destination of choice through a number of marketing campaigns. SriLankan is also working hand in hand with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau and the country’s travel industry.
The Milan service will also offer one-stop flights via Colombo to such popular Far Eastern destinations as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Beijing, plus six cities in India, and also the Maldives which is a favourite holiday destination of Italian tourists.
With the addition of Milan, SriLankan will expand its route network to 44 destinations in 29 countries across Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Far East, and North America. SriLankan briefly served Milan in 2000/2001.
Despite the worldwide slowdown in air travel due to the global economic meltdown, SriLankan is continuing to strengthen its route network by launching services to selected destinations, and by strengthening its codeshare network with partner airlines. Just two months ago SriLankan expanded its network to Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Jakarta, and Seoul through an enhanced partnership with Malaysia Airlines. Last October, SriLankan expanded its partnership with Etihad to cover Geneva, Dublin, Munich, Brussels, Manchester, and Amman.
The Milan flights, on modern Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, will operate on Wednesday and Saturday. Wednesday’s flight UL565 will operate on the route Colombo-Paris-Milan-Colombo, while Saturday’s flight UL 555 will fly Colombo-Frankfurt-Milan-Colombo.
Every seat on SriLankan’s widebodied fleet has a Touch Screen Entertainment System with over 40 Movie, Television and Radio channels, and 16 Interactive Games. Business Class travellers can also choose from a selection of latest and classic movies in the on-board video library.