Saw this on the dailynews. Made for some interesting reading!
SriLankan to enter Beijing skies soon
by Shirajiv Sirimane
SriLankan airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka would extend their flights to Beijing, China from the next winter.
According to the head of cargo division SriLankan airlines, Nalin Rodrigo, the flights are expected to commence from end of next September. "We are looking at the emerging market in China," he said.
Rodrigo who was the Chief Guest at the annual general meeting of Sri Lanka Freight Forwarders Association (SLFFA) held last week in Colombo said that the airline is also looking at extending their network to Mauritius and Madagascar.
He said that there was political stability in recent times and this was one reason for them to expand. "This stability is good for the airline profits and it would also generate new employment opportunities for the industry", he said.
Sri Lanka can be developed to an international hub and this is what the airlines is aiming for. The airport expansion program has put the country in the right track.
He said that the open sky policy between Sri Lanka and Thailand would have a major positive impact for the industry. "We can use this to fly out to other destinations," he said.
The national carrier which has also gained in their cargo operations, opened a new cargo office in Kolluptiya recently. He said that their investment in the new Sri Lanka Sales Office is an evidence of its continuous commitment to ensuring that Sri Lanka retains its competitive edge over the manufacturing and producing centres in the region.
The new SriLankan Cargo Sales Office will provide all cargo sales and services such as reservations, freight rate quotations, cargo acceptance (small parcels only), information on special cargo such as pets and restricted goods and provide post-flight information such as information on the position of cargo during carriage.
Sri Lanka's national carrier has also been steadily expanding its fleet of aircraft as it expands its services.
It recently took delivery of its fourth Airbus A320 to join the fleet which includes five long-haul A340s, four A330s, one Cessna Caravan floatplane, and two Antonov AN12 freighter aircraft. The Airline plans to acquire a fifth A320 within the next few months.
SriLankan Airlines was privatised in April 1998, when the Government of Sri Lanka sold a 40% shareholding to Emirates Airlines, which was also contracted to manage the company for a period of ten years. Employees were gifted shares by the Government in accordance with their service.
The Government of Sri Lanka retains the majority shareholding, while Emirates has increased its stake to 43%.
The news about Mauritius and Madagascar is very interesting. Mauritius has a large Indian population, but Madagascar???????