Sri Lanka Launches Charter Flights To China's Chongqing

Lanka on Tuesday launched its first ever weekly flight from its capital Colombo to the Chinese city of Chongqing.

A Srilankan airlines flight carrying 140 Chinese tourists landed in Colombo and was greeted at the airport by officials and the local media.

The flight will operate weekly until Nov 25, 2014, then resume operations on Jan 13, 2015.

Sri Lanka's John Keells Group, which is handling the tour operations for the charter flight, said that this has given Sri Lanka an opportunity to open a new hub out of Chongqing.

"We are delighted to associate ourselves with Sri Lankan Airlines and Chongqing Huapont International Travel Service Co Ltd to promote Sri Lanka from Southwest China, covering the Sichuan province. This is the first time that a regular weekly service on a charter basis has been undertaken by an operator with SriLankan Airlines and it is a very exciting project," Vasantha Leelananda of John Keells Group said.

SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena said that having identified China as one of the key markets, Sri Lanka's national airline is constantly looking for new avenues to expand its operations in the region through increasing frequencies and introducing new destinations.

"With the introduction of charter flights to Chongqing, we are now catering to a new segment of passengers who will no doubt, enjoy convenient and hassle-free travel with a touch of traditional Sri Lankan hospitality," he said.

China has been identified as one of the largest contributors of tourism in Sri Lanka in the future. The Chinese market grew a mammoth 96 percent in the year 2013 alone, and is continuously rising with a 36-percent growth seen to date in 2014.

(AFP)

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