Cash strapped SriLankan Airlines launched flights to Nairobi, Kenya today, making it the airline’s second destination in East Africa after flying to the Seychelles.
Scheduled flights commenced from today between the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), East Africa’s largest and busiest airport.
SriLankan Airlines the flag carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the prestigious oneworld alliance will commence its flights to Nairobi every Thursday using an Airbus A330 configured for 269 economy and 28 business class seats.
The frequency of operation will be once a week. Flight UL1715 will depart Colombo at 10:45 hrs, landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 14:40 hrs., with the return leg UL1716 leaving Nairobi at 04:40 hrs. and landing back into Colombo at 13:55 hrs.
“We are delighted to be launching flights to the capital of Kenya, as SriLankan Airlines expands to the African region. We hope to see many people visit Kenya and explore the world’s stunning wildlife by offering seamless connectivity through its global route network in addition to establishing a strong presence in Kenya,” SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage stated.
SriLankan Airlines said demand for transport to and from Nairobi has increased dramatically as a business and leisure hub for East and Central Africa. Nairobi is located strategically with land and air connections to a wider catchment area: Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and Madagascar. Home to many safari and national parks some famous tourist destinations include Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Serengeti National Park, and Zanzibar in Tanzania.
“This new route will allow SriLankan Airlines to tap into sizeable traffic flows from East Africa to ISC, China, Far East and Australia. We expect to see strong loads to China and India, though the schedule allows connectivity to key destinations across the route network,’ said Vipula Gunatilleka CEO of SriLankan Airlines.
SriLankan Airlines hub, Bandaranaike International Airport, offers a modern, convenient, and comfortable transit to connect to flights across the airline’s worldwide network from the Indian Subcontinent, Far East and Australasia, with many key destinations having multiple departures. The flight will also provide additional cargo capacity on the route for Kenya’s main export products, as well as key imports.
“The commencement of scheduled operations into Nairobi, Kenya is an exciting ideal in expanding SriLankan Airlines operations into Africa and is forecast to be a significant cargo route in capitalizing on the key trade lanes in connectivity to the present network, primarily to and from the Far East and India,” Chamara Ranasinghe, Head of Cargo of SriLankan Airlines said.
He said that the destination will also act as a gateway in connecting other main African hubs, thereby expanding the reach for SriLankan Cargo customers at unprecedented levels as the airline looks forward to strengthening its presence in the region towards the future. (Colombo Gazette)