SriLankan Airlines takes Etihad passengers in codeshare deal

Aug 27, 2007 (LBO) – Despite canceling flights to Sri Lanka, Abu Dhabi based carrier Etihad plans to stay back through a services agreement with SriLankan Airlines, officials said Monday.

The Dubai based airline more than doubled its network during the last two years making Etihad one of the fastest growing airlines. The open-ended ‘codeshare’ agreement between the two airlines will let Etihad passengers fly SriLankan airlines to or from Abu Dhabi with both airlines marketing the destination.

The new agreement lets Etihad market itself through SriLankan where the local carrier would handle the load to and from Abu Dhabi, on behalf of Etihad.

Etihad’s three flights per week service to and from Colombo has around 75 percent load factor which is the percentage of available seating capacity that is filled with passengers.

SriLankan, in which Dubai carrier Emirates, has a 43.6 percent stake, operates daily flights to Abu Dhabi.

Manoj Gunawardena, head of worldwide passenger sales for SriLankan told reporters it has space to accommodate passengers from Etihad and can increase capacity and frequency to the Middle Eastern region if there is a spill over.

“We have had