Air India Delhi-Colombo flights will boost Sri Lanka’s tourism – Country Manager



By Harischandra Gunaratna

The first ever Air India direct flight from Delhi to Colombo touched down at the BIA yesterday afternoon and was welcomed with the ceremonial water salute.

The 182-seater A 321 landed in Colombo about 15 minutes before schedule despite inclement weather here.

According to Ms Jaya Sharma, Air India Country Manager, the inaugural flight enjoyed a load factor of 150 economy class seats and eight business.

A company spokesman said that the airline hoped to maintain a load factor of 80 per cent and expressed confidence that the it would further increase in time to come with more Indian holidaymakers looking for a well earned getaway not far away from home.

Previously Air India flights had been between Chennai and Colombo.

Ms. Sharma said introduction of the new service by Air India was timely and would be a boost to Sri Lanka’s burgeoning tourism industry, where the majority of tourists visiting the island are from India.

As per Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority statistics India ranks number one in tourist traffic to Sri Lanka and in 2014 accounted for 242,734 tourists and 16.3 percent of total arrivals in the country.

Ms Sharma said: "The flight will also provide an important gateway from the Indian sub-continenent . Delhi being the hub for Air India , it will provide passengers from Sri Lanka , connections to flights of Air India and other Star Alliance member airlines to Europe, USA, Far East and Australia while the passengers arriving from these international destinations would get a convenient connection to Sri Lanka on this flight.

Flight AI 276 from Colombo will depart for Delhi at 08.20 hrs and reach Delhi at 12.05 and the return flight to Colombo AI 275 from Delhi will leave at 12 noon and reach Colombo 15.35 except on Wednesdays when the flight will leave Delhi at 13.30 hrs and reach Colombo at 17.15 hrs.

The AI flight reaching Colombo would leave for Chennai same afternoon and return to Colombo the next morning.

Pic: Tankard Srivasthava left (Commercial Director Air India ) is welcomed on his arrival on the inaugural flight by Pankad Kumar, Executive Commercial Director, (Air India,Sri Lanka ). Looking on Suren Ediriweera, Managaing Director Indu Sky Aviation (Pvt) Ltd GSA for Air India.(Pic. Nishan S. Priyantha)


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