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Thu, 07 May 2015 07:33:08
Sri Lanka flights filling up: Etihad Airways
14 Jan, 2010 11:41:36
Jan 14, 2009 (LBO) - Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways is seeing growth in traffic after it resumed services to Colombo with tourist arrivals also expected to pick after a 30-year war ended in the island, officials said.
The airline says it is experiencing 60 percent load factors since re-starting operations on January 01.

"We hope to increase it by 10 to 15 percent in the coming few months," Kumar De Silva, Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives said.

It stopped flying to Sri Lanka in September 2007 and was code sharing SriLankan airlines. Officials said they would expand the destinations under the code share deal.

Etihad flies four times a week to Colombo and the flights are timed to connect to a number of key destinations on the airline’s network, including Moscow and North America.

"We resumed flights back to Sri Lanka because it is an important part in our network and of the markets that we are operating in," Adrian Parkes, vice president of sales at Etihad said.

"There is very good traffic flow from Moscow to Sri Lanka and we are going to serve all those destinations now,” said

The airline is also banking on an upturn in tourist traffic after a 30-year war ended last May.

"The market stability has returned," Parkes said "Travel to and from Sri Lanka would be very much of a growth market in the future years."

In December arrivals were up 16.2 percent to 56,862. Arrivals peaks during the Western European winter.

De Silva says forecasts were looking healthy though the peak season is wearing off.

"We plan to work closely with the ministry of tourism to join promotions and the other initiatives to further enhance traffic from existing markets and stimulate incremental traffic from new markets in the future," he said.

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