A Market of Growth : China – Sri Lanka – Analysis

 While China and Sri Lanka, as nations, have had a long ranging relationship in many fronts from religion to trade – it is only in 2005, when air links between the two countries began. And it has grown exponentially since then, with a lot of potential for growth.

 The first air link between mainland China and Sri Lanka was initiated by SriLankan Airlines in 2005, when it was still under Emirates management. The carrier’s first route into China, UL888, was a link between the two capitals – Colombo and Beijing. The flight operated three times a week on board Airbus A330-200 aircraft. What began there has grown remarkably in the recent years, specially after the end of Sri Lanka’s war with terrorists.

 The present air services between China and Sri Lanka look as following, including new routes planned to begin.;

Airline Route Frequency* Equipment Weekly Oneway Seats Remarks
China Eastern Kunming – Colombo 3 weekly B.737 402
Hainan Airlines Beijing – Colombo 4 weekly A330 988 To begin 1 Aug 2011. Via BKK.
SriLankan Colombo – Beijing 3 weekly A330 861 Via BKK.
SriLankan Colombo – Guangzhou 3 weekly EQV 915 Via BKK.
SriLankan Colombo – Shanghai 4 weekly A330 1148 Via BKK.

 Remarkably, SriLankan – the largest carrier between the two markets -, makes the best use of its 5th freedom rights out of Bangkok and routes all of its flights to China via Bangkok. The carrier reportedly gets a high demand for its China flights and has also made sure to connect all of its Chinese flights with its Subcontinent flight banks, both ways.

 The launch of Hainan Airlines’ services too is an indicator of the growth this market is set to receive. China Eastern too has been mulling additional flights into Sri Lanka with new flights from Shanghai.
 With a 46.2% increase in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in this January alone, things in this market are sure set to be interesting !

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