Shirajiv Sirimane, in Sunday Observer, 6 March 2011
SriLankan Airlines would fly to Toronto for the first time from October this year. Minister of Aviation Priyankara Jayaratne said that they would be operating this flight with a stopover in London Heathrow. “We are looking at a frequency of seven flights per week,” he said. The Minister said that they have already got the green light for this proposal and are now considering other logistics.
“There is a major traffic load from Colombo to UK, and there is also a market from London to Toronto and back,” he said. Minister Jayaratne said they have already informed their agents of this route and received a positive response. He said that they will also increase the current 14 flights per week frequency to Heathrow to 21 within the next few months.Commenting on the future of SriLankan Airlines, he said that plans are under way to have more aircraft for the national carrier. “We also want to strengthen Mihin Lanka which is now making profits during high seasons,” he said.
The roll-out plan for the two airlines is to increase the fleet strength to around 30 in the near future.”Currently, SriLankan has 15 aircraft while Mihin operates two aircraft. “We also want to have more sea planes as with the increase in tourists arrivals, there is a demand for this sector as well,” the Minister said.
He also disclosed plans by Airport Aviation Services to launch its own charter passenger helicopter service. “We are planning to commence this service from the Colombo International Airport to any destination in Sri Lanka. We are looking now for a suitable helicopter for this operation”.
CEO Mihin Lanka, Kapila Chandrasena said the airline is making profits during some months which is a good trend. “We are still a young airline and to record profits is creditable,” he said.Chandrasena added that the three new routes – Male, Indonesia and Bangladesh – are drawing a lot of transit traffic and the introduction of these three destinations has been a positive move.