SriLankan set to expand Indian network

Kuala Lumpur
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SriLankan plans to increase its services into various points in India, and position itself as a hub for medium and long-haul services for its neighbour's southern regions.

Sri Lanka's flag carrier has 60 weekly services into India, mainly in the south where it can serve points efficiently with its Airbus A320s. The airline had around 100 weekly services into India just a few years ago, but it had to cut those down because of the now-ended Sri Lankan civil war and its own operational problems.

The airline, however, has been gradually revamping its network and fleet, and it has identified India as one key feeder market for its medium and long-haul network, its chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark Malaysia Airlines' entry into the alliance.

"India has been a very important market for us and we have an aggressive plan to increase services to several important points in southern India, which can provide feeder traffic for us," says Chandrasena.

"Colombo is closer to many of these cities than the hubs in northern India, where many of the long-haul flights out of India depart. And when we join Oneworld, we will have a much wider network for these passengers."

He adds that in the near term, SriLankan plans to consolidate its European network and work on increasing its services to India, East Asia and Southeast Asia as part of its growth strategy.