AirAsia sees potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism growth | Sunday Observer

AirAsia sees potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism growth

Chinese tourists enjoy the sunset in the Koggala beach. Sri Lanka’s inbound tourism segment has also been growing steadily every year since 2009, reaching an all-time high record of 2.1 million at the end of 2017. This is the first time that tourist arrivals crossed the two million mark. (Pic: Chandani Jayatilleke)
Chinese tourists enjoy the sunset in the Koggala beach. Sri Lanka’s inbound tourism segment has also been growing steadily every year since 2009, reaching an all-time high record of 2.1 million at the end of 2017. This is the first time that tourist arrivals crossed the two million mark. (Pic: Chandani Jayatilleke)

In keeping with growing inbound and outbound traffic, the world’s best low-cost airline, AirAsia, currently flies two times daily between Colombo and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2017, its Malaysia based airline, AirAsia Malaysia, recorded a healthy 80 percent load factor on average, spurred on by its low-cost operational model, award-winning service and rapidly growing Fly-Thru routes.

In a recent interview, Spencer Lee, Head of Commercial for AirAsia Malaysia said, “At the moment, we are focusing on our existing route, Colombo, however we are always open to expanding our services when the opportunity arises and will share the details once everything is finalized.”

Since its Sri Lanka launch, back in 2009, AirAsia has flown approximately 886,532 passengers in and out of Colombo throughout the years. Part of the healthy figure is contributed by its Fly-Thru passengers, a service that connects travellers to other flights with their baggage checked-through to the final destination without the hassle of immigration clearance at the transit hub in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2017 itself, the airline has flown about 77,800 Fly-Thru passengers to and from Colombo via its Kuala Lumpur hub. Opening up doors for Sri Lankans to Asia and beyond, Fly-Thru passengers expect a seamless travel to a total of 41 destinations in 14 countries, including, several Asean countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the Maldives and even the US.

Sri Lanka’s inbound tourism segment has also been growing steadily every year since 2009, reaching an all-time high record of 2.1 million at the end of 2017. This is the first-time that tourist arrivals crossed the two million mark.

Speaking about the tourism growth and Sri Lanka’s tourism potential, Spencer said, “AirAsia has the widest network in Asean and beyond. We not only fly directly from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo, we also have in place many Fly-Thru routes from key countries, including, China which sees us connecting 16 destinations to Sri Lanka. Our Fly-Thru service also connects travellers from Australia, Indonesia and Singapore and around Asean into Sri Lanka. This not only means an increase and diversification of tourist arrivals in the country but also opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka to experience the various destinations that we fly to.”

AirAsia’s strategy has always been on offering a combination of three things it does best - low fares, a wide network and an award-winning service - to ensure that everyone can truly fly.

Spencer says, it is something AirAsia has remained committed to over the years and is now at a level that is better than anybody else in the region. Backing up this statement is the airline’s continued winning streak at numerous international aviation industry award ceremonies.

Spencer added that the airline’s aim continues to be on democratizing air travel so that flying is no longer a luxury that few could enjoy, something that is epitomized by their tagline – ‘Now everyone can fly’.

“We want to make air travel more affordable and convenient in Sri Lanka with a seamless experience that connects guests to an extensive network across Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and the US.

Our mission is to change the way how people travel and ensure that air travel will be sustainable in the long run,” he said. 

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