Sri Lanka state carrier to double flights to China

Aug 22, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run SriLankan Airlines is doubling flights to China over the next two years and the booming sector is slated to bring up to 15 percent of the airline’s revenue, an official said. The airline now flies ten times a week to China (including Hong Kong) which will be increased to 13 this year and 21 over the next two years. With growing affluence larger numbers of Chinese are travelling overseas.

“Once we are in full swing at 21 flights a week at that time we are looking at 10 to 15 percent of revenues from China,” SriLankan Airlines’ head of commercial G T Jeyaseelan said.

SriLankan is flying to China via Bangkok and taking Chinese tourists to Bangkok, Maldives and Colombo. Regular Colombo – Bangkok traffic fills the second leg.

Jeyaseelan says seat factors are ‘excellent’ in the region of 90 percent.

At the moment more Chinese tourists come to the Maldives than to Sri Lanka. Overtime SriLankan wants to change it.

“We are using Bangkok as a stop gap,” says Jeyaseelan. “All our Chinese flights, Hong Kong, Beijing, Canton, Shanghai flights come via Bangkok. Over a period of time we will pull out of Bangkok and come direct.

“We bring Chinese tourists to Ba