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Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:13 pm

Web posted at: 11/20/2002 5:17:24
Source ::: The Peninsula/ by Feizal Samath

Colombo: Qatar Airways may become the first international airline to fly to Palaly airport in Sri Lanka’s war-torn Jaffna peninsula, Commerce Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

Karunanayake, who was in Qatar on an official visit recently, was quoted yesterday as saying over TNL Radio that Qatar Airways had expressed its interest to develop the Palaly airport and the International Airport in Katunayake, near Colombo.

For more than 25 years, Palaly has seen only local military and civilian flights. There are many Tamil residents from the north who work in the Middle East.

Karunanayake could not confirm when the said agreement would be signed. “A final decision on the matter will be taken by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe,” he said, adding that he hoped Wickremasinghe would accept the invitation extended by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker to visit Qatar.

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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:39 pm

This is great news!
Hope they move on this soon.

I know Srilankan officials made a few visits to asses the condition of runways etc. with the intention of flying the A320's there. But nothing has come out of it yet.

The Airport is in a very bad condition and is served by a few old Airforce AN-32 & IL-18 aircrafts (military/cargo planes converted with basic seating) and recently by Lionair with Hawker Siddley-748's.

If the new terminals at Doha are anything to go by , I think Qatar will do a good job in building the terminals. Katunayaka could do with a few aerobridges!.

Demand will also be high I think given the high propotion of Tamils in Europe and the middle East.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self- centered: Forgive them anyway - Mother Theresa
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:43 pm

Finally, Sri Lanka is getting the attention it so richly deserves. There is a tremendous political will for peace, and with the successful conclusion of two rounds of peace talks, it should now be on its way to recovery.

Aviation enthusiasts should take this opportunity to travel to this beautiful country for a wonderful holiday experience, and perhaps also sample the warm service onboard SriLankan Airlines.

KC Sim
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 8:07 pm

did i get it right. QR will be involved in developing the airport? what kind of strange deal is this. Usually big carriers might get into the complex process of developing a rather remote airport as to gain certain privileges and be the launch big name to operate out/from there.

In Case QR flies there, is there any other potential other than the ethnic travel (which is for sure low Yield biz.)? any existent Package tour providers?

Thanks for Info
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 8:22 pm

Sri Lanka is a wonderful place.

But their main airport does need a little bit of work, particularly in the arrivals department. The departures area is fine though, I've never seen so much duty free being bought in my life than I did whilst waiting for my plane.
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 11:18 pm

I haven't been to Jaffna in yonks... not since 1987 and I go to Sri Lanka almost every year!!! Love to see how things are now over there. Its strange that Qatar Airways has ideas of flying there, I don't think it will work. I think before Qatar Airways, Indian Airlines and SriLankan will fly to Jaffna first. There is plenty of money to be made on the Colmbo-Jaffna and Colombo-Chennai routes.

Yes, I too agree that CMB needs aerobridges, though I do find it fun travelling on the busses that take you out to the waiting aircraft. They will have to redesign/refigure the main terminal, as the current one cannot accomodate aerobridges. Maybe they will build a new terminal, just like what was done in Dubai in the mid 90s
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Wed Nov 20, 2002 11:33 pm

I wonder what QR would get for upgrading the airport and what they would have as reason to do so. No doubt that would mean that CMB would most probably become a QR Asia Hub which I think would be a great thing. On the other side UL will face big problems since QR is already the biggest competitor in the European market.

No doubt QR has to look for other possibilities and they give everything to be one step in front of EK.
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:42 am

From what I have heard QR are NOT interested into FLYING to Jaffna but rather developing the airport.

"QR will be involved in developing the airport? what kind of strange deal is this"

Nothing strange in this at all, QR owns Qatar Aviation Services which is a ground handling and airport management firm which currently manages DOH and will add has recently signed a deal with another Arab airport. QAS cooperates with DNATA of EK in all their ventures. QR have also said they have plans to manage duty frees in airports other than DOH as well as the new Qatar - Saudi Arabia border terminal. QAS and Duty free are both profitable ventures and help reduce losses from the unprofitable Qatar Airways mainline.
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Thu Nov 21, 2002 3:46 pm


many thanks for the insight! interesting to hear about the other biz. of QR. wish them luck in their ventures.

maa salameh
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RE: Qatar Airways May Fly To Jaffna

Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:44 am

In my view I think UL should concentrate on operating flights out of Jaffna to India. Bet that the demand would be overwhelming. Guess routes like Jaffna-MAA, Jaffna-TRV, Jaffna-Bangalore... No body has done this since old Air Ceylon, (I LOVE Air Ceylon) Indian Airlines days where flightsusually stopped at KKS (Jaffna) en-route to india. These will be short sectors and yield will be high. So pull your socks SriLankan and get into it. I am sure Indian Airlines are also weighing their options.
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