National carrier SriLankan Airlines’ Colombo-Melbourne direct flight has reversed the trend of declining passenger traffic into Sri Lanka.
Despite Australia being home to a large Sri Lankan diaspora and student community, passenger arrivals into Sri Lanka were on the decline in 2017, with one of the prime reasons being the lack of direct flights from Colombo to Australia. This status quo was improved by SriLankan Airlines’ strategic launch of its direct daily flights from Colombo to Melbourne last last year.
The route has already registered a profit within a short period of less than six months, demonstrating its potential as one of the fastest break-even and profit-making routes in the airline’s network. There has been a tangible upward surge in tourists arrivals from Australia since October 2017, when the direct flight was launched. Arrivals rose by as much as 26% during the launch month and progressively since. A month prior to the launch, tourists arrivals from Australia were recording negative growth.
Commenting on the performance, SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Suren Ratwatte said: “We are delighted to fulfil a long-felt need for a direct flight from Colombo to Melbourne. The tireless efforts of the airline’s marketing and commercial teams have made a significant contribution to this success. The daily nonstop flights between Colombo and Melbourne are witnessing high traffic with customers reporting satisfaction at being able to undertake the flight without long layovers which not only reduces flying time but also enable travellers to arrive at their destinations refreshed. Following the success of this strategic decision, we will explore opportunities, for example, between Colombo and Sydney and other destinations in Australia.”
SriLankan is a member of the prestigious oneworld global airline alliance. SriLankan offers convenient connections to 14 cities throughout India, nine in the Middle East and other destinations such as Male and Gan Island in the Maldives, and Seychelles. SriLankan also operates one-stop twice-daily services between Sri Lanka and Australia with its codeshare partners Qantas and Malaysia Airlines.
Launched in 1979, Sri Lanka’s national carrier is an award-winning airline with a solid reputation for service, comfort, safety, reliability and punctuality. The airline provides convenient connections to its global route network of 94 destinations in 44 countries. SriLankan Airlines is the proud recipient of a number of awards in the airline industry. The awards hail from a number of prestigious aviation research agencies and travel magazines across the globe.
This article originally appears on DailyFT.