Feb 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's 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 have been on the decline in 2017, 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 year. The route has already registered a profit within a short period of less 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 tourist arrivals from Australia since the month of October '17, 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, tourist arrivals from Australia were recording negative growth.
Commenting on the performance, Suren Ratwatte, Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines 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 enables travelers 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 also operates one-stop twice-daily services between Sri Lanka and Australia with its codeshare partners Qantas and Malaysia Airlines.