Etihad says Colombo no longer profitable destination

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 09:06 GMT]
Citing the non profitability of the Sri Lankan market in terms of passenger growth, Etihad Airway’s, Monday announced plans to code share with local carrier SriLankan Airlines, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday. The airline will be suspending their operations to Colombo from September 15. The airline’s Regional General Manager Asia Pacific Charles Phelps-Penry told journalists in Colombo that they had changed plans for Colombo due to the non profitability of the carrier flying into the capital inspite of a load factor of 75%-80%.

He pointed out that while this was not the sole measure of the airline’s objectives, the airline wanted to ensure they breakeven by 2010.

“We are making significant changes to our destinations and aim to promote Sri Lanka as a destination not just ideally with seasonal traffic but always,” he elaborated.

The new plans will ensure that SriLankan Airlines daily flights to Abu Dhabi will accommodate traffic from Etihad’s three flights a week service to and from Colombo.

However, it was pointed out that Etihad Airways had no intention of pulling out of Sri Lanka due to their confidence in the country and the way forward being through sharing synergies.

Under the codeshare plans SriLankan Airlines will be able to have access to markets in which they will not be operating from September 15 with the affixing of SriLankan code (UL) on Etihad flights beyond Abu Dhabi, Sri Lankan Airlines Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales Gunawardene said during the media briefing.

Commenting on the 17 member local staff deployed at the Etihad Airways office, it was stated that they would be provided placements in their wide network while a VRS scheme would be provided for those opting not to move out of Colombo.

Gunawardene noted that the agreement with Etihad will “strengthen our services into and out of the Middle East, an important market for SriLankan Airlines, while achieving operational efficiencies for both partners.”

 

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