SriLankan Airlines is considering a proposal to resume direct fights to Paris, Rome and Frankfurt, within few months, with subsidies from the country’s tourism authorities, to attract more Western European tourists to the island nation.
“We have submitted a proposal from the Tourism Ministry to resume direct flights to Europe and in return. We are willing to provide subsidies for SriLankan Airlines to cover the potential operational losses to these destinations initially,” Tourism Promotion State Minister Arundika Fernando revealed.
Speaking to Mirror Business, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage confirmed that the national carrier has received a request to resume direct flights to European destinations.
However, he noted that SriLankan is yet to make a final decision
According to Fernando, SriLankan is likely to operate two flights weekly to Frankfurt initially.
SriLankan pulled out of Paris, Frankfurt and Rome in late 2016, as an attempt to cut losses while focusing more on the region.
In 2016, tourist arrivals from France, Germany and Italy grew by 12 percent year-on-year (YoY), 15 percent YoY and 22.6 percent YoY, respectively.
However, the tourist arrival growth from France and Italy slowed down 0.9 YoY and 5.5 percent YoY in 2017, following the termination of direct flights to these destinations while the tourist arrivals from Germany declined by 2.3 percent. (NF)