ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41
Financial Times  

SriLankan Airlines to fly to Jeddah

SriLankan Airlines will make Saudi Arabia 's city of Jeddah its 51st global destination, launching a twice weekly service starting March 27. The airline signed a codeshare agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines on February 27, for services to Jeddah on Tuesday and Friday, the airline said this week. Jeddah is SriLankan Airlines’ third destination in Saudi Arabia and the ninth in the airline’s Middle East route network.

“Over 500,000 Sri Lankans are estimated to be working and living in Saudi Arabia, with a significant number of them in Jeddah. We are confident our new service will greatly enhance travel between Colombo and Jeddah,” SriLankan Airlines’ Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, Manoj Gunawardena said. Sri Lankan Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, A M J Sadiq said “The proposed regular flight operations would be a dream-come-true to the large Sri Lankan expatriate community in the western region of Saudi Arabia, who have long yearned for this service.”

Jeddah is also the principal gateway to Makkah, the holiest city of Islam, which able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in a lifetime, to perform the Haj pilgrimage. The holy city attracts between two to three million visitors annually. In 2006, SriLankan Airlines expanded its services to the Middle East, increasing frequencies to a number of destinations including Dubai and Doha, in a strategy to offer greater convenience for passengers travelling through its Colombo hub. The addition of Jeddah to SriLankan Airlines’ Middle East network is also expected to complement the airlines’ Indian network, spanning ten key destinations.

“SriLankan Airlines is the largest foreign carrier into India with 94 weekly flights, making us a preferred carrier to the subcontinent’s residents,” SriLankan Airlines, Regional Manager Middle East, Mohamed Fazeel said. “We are continuously looking for new opportunities to enhance our service and adding new destinations and increasing frequencies is a vital component,” he added. SriLankan Airlines has in recent years achieved global recognition for its standards in excellence, winning.



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