SriLankan Airlines says bookings up, to increase flights

Oct 21, 2009 (LBO) – SriLankan Airlines said it will increase flights this winter season to a dozen cities throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and Far East as bookings were on the rise. The move is based on its projection that passenger numbers will “definitely increase” following the end of the island’s ethnic war, the airline said in a statement.

“Forward booking for winter season is very encouraging and we are providing more flights to destination where we experience high market growth,” said Mohamed Fazeel, Head of Worldwide Sales at SriLankan.

The increase in flights will be effective from October 25, and the new Milan service will be launched on December 16.

The country’s tourism industry has witnessed steady growth since its 30-year war ended in May, when government forces defeated Tamil Tiger separatists.

Tourist arrivals to the island have risen sharply despite the global economic downturn which has discouraged air travel.

Statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority show that tourist arrivals from all countries grew by 34 percent in August 2009 in comparison to the same month in the previous year, and 28 percent in July.

Sri Lan