Daily shipments to Kuwait which were being dispatched through the airlines morning flight have been affected. Until recently Sri Lankan Airlines used to operate two services daily in the Tiruchi-Colombo sector – one in the morning and the other in the evening. The morning flight used to arrive at around 8.40 a.m. and depart about an hour later. The second service used to reach Tiruchi at around 2.40 p.m. and leave at 3.30 p.m.
The airline recently announced its winter schedule stating that the morning flight would arrive at Tiruchi at 8.40 a.m. and depart at 4.05 p.m. with no mention about the operation of the second service. The morning flight is stationed at the airport the whole day.
Sources said the development was due to some work at the Colombo airport. The airline has been operating only one service since early January and this schedule was expected to be in vogue till the end of March. It has put shippers in a quandary especially those dispatching freight to Kuwait every day in the morning flight to Colombo. Export cargo especially assorted vegetables to Kuwait to the tune about 2.5 tonnes to 3 tonnes used to be dispatched daily through the morning flight to Colombo.
Absence of direct connectivity to Kuwait from Tiruchi had necessitated exporters of this region to bank on the morning flight to Colombo due to onward connectivity to Kuwait from there. The lone service doesn’t seem to suit exporters due to lack of further connectivity from Colombo. So, shippers have been dispatching their cargo from other airports such as Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi since no other overseas carrier lifts cargo for West Asian countries.
Export cargo to other destinations such as Male and Doha which used to be brisk had become less than average. A little over five tonnes of cargo is used to be dispatched when the airline operated two services a day. Only 2 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes were being sent now.