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SL’s FitsAir announces commencement of international passenger operations

26 September 2022 11:57 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Initial routes on its Airbus A320-200 aircraft will be to Dubai, Male, Trichy
  • Determined to make air travel economical and practical
  • Aviation veteran and former SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill at helm

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam 
Sri Lanka’s aviation space will see a new cost-effective addition in the coming weeks, as a new local brand is gearing up to fly the skies, becoming the first privately-owned airline in Sri Lanka to operate international passenger flights. 


FitsAir, a budget airline, backed by Aberdeen Holdings Group, a diversified conglomerate, will commence international flights on October 5, with its first passenger flight between Bandaranaike International Airport and Dubai.


According to the FitsAir officials, the airline wants to keep its focus on destinations within the SAARC region, Gulf Council Countries and South and South East Asia. 


Determined to make air travel more affordable, given the current global and local economic conditions, FitsAir focuses on the primary product—a comfortable seat to get a passenger to his/her destination with minimum or no fuss. 


The company’s newly-appointed Commercial Consultant Peter Hill, an aviation veteran, said FitsAir is straightforward with its promise to passengers, which is competitive fares and absolutely no-frills whatsoever. 


“The premise is that we do not want to waste a passenger’s time, money or energy in the process of travelling. The idea is to offer Sri Lankans a viable option for air travel,” said Hill, speaking to reporters in Colombo, yesterday. 
The low-cost airline will offer a free checked-in baggage allowance of 30 kgs, in addition to one free hand luggage of seven kgs. FitsAir will also offer reduced fares for baggage of no more than 20 kgs.


The initial routes will be Dubai, commencing on October 5, Male commencing on October 10 and Trichy starting on October 28. The airline will operate three weekly flights to each of these international destinations.
The airline will operate its routes with Airbus A320-200. Currently, its fleet consists of three aircraft, which are under dry lease.

FitsAir will have a seating capacity of 164, out of which 156 seats will be under Economy Class and eight seats will be under Economy Plus. The latter features wider seats and has more leg room.


The Economy Plus fares will be inclusive of in-flight meals. However, Economy Class will only provide refreshments and meals can be purchased or pre-ordered for an additional charge at the time of booking.
Both sections will not comprise of in-flight entertainment (IFE) but passengers are allowed to bring their own devices.


“We don’t have that (IFE). For us, it is all about making air travel economical, which can be delivered by keeping costs low. The IFE and other features add to the cost and are expensive to maintain, increasing the overall fare. So, we are keeping them out,” said Hill.


When questioned about the airfares being similar to those offered by other budget airlines, Hill expressed confidence in FitsAir continuing to keep the fares low.


“It’s a competitive market. We have to be agile. We will adjust if necessary. But we will still stay ahead of the game. I know what my airfares are and I know what weights I can sustain. That’s why I’m pitching it at this rate. Sustainability is the name of the game. We can’t afford to go around losing money,” he said.


A round trip to Dubai in Economy Class, including the baggage allowance, is priced at Rs.186,100 and for the Maldives, the airfare (round) is Rs.127,500. The airfare will vary for the Economy Plus seating. A passenger choosing to travel baggage-free will pay a lesser fair. In total, a passenger has three price options for every route.
Further, Hill also shared that while jet fuel procurement is a challenge that airlines are currently grappling with, FitsAir has sorted out its stock until December 2022. He said even if the shortage continues beyond December, the company would not have an issue obtaining fuel, as it has the financial means to do so.


“We have managed to get permission to acquire fuel stocks and we will bring down on our own. We might not need to maintain stocks after December but even if we are required to, we won’t have an issue,” said Hill.


Meanwhile, within Sri Lanka, FitsAir has laid out plans to commence domestic flights and the first destination on the list is Jaffna, which will be operated from Ratmalana Airport.

 

 


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  Comments - 4

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  • Terrence Tuesday, 27 September 2022 09:15 AM

    A dynamic leader who during his management of Sri Lanka Airlines brought revenue to the country which the Rajapakses ruined by overriding the airline policy through politicization

    Mahinda Tuesday, 27 September 2022 09:32 AM

    An alternative to MIHIN AIR ?

    Lankan for unity Tuesday, 27 September 2022 09:39 AM

    This new option will be great for our persons going to work in those places/destinations. Best wishes for the less well paid persons like housemaid to travel on this, and then remit money through hawala or undiyal the only ways to provide good enough remittance in these monster inflation days. Using government Sri Lankan airline just like official remittance channel is just going to cost the user unnecessarily.

    Dion Boulton Tuesday, 27 September 2022 10:12 AM

    Congratulations. With Peter Hill as head, this airline will do well. All the very best


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