Etihad Airways is to resume flights to Colombo
in Sri Lanka. Starting January 2010, the airline will operate four
flights per week from Abu Dhabi to Sri Lanka’s largest city and
commercial capital, using an Airbus A320 aircraft.
The resumption of flights follows the recent end to the civil
conflict in Sri Lanka and the boost that this is likely to provide
to the tourism sector and to the wider economy as a whole. July
and August 2009 already witnessed a 30% increase in
visitors to the island compared to the same period last year, and
the Sri Lankan government is now targeting 2.5 million visitors a
year by 2016.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief
executive, said, “Sri Lanka is an established market with a strong
local traffic base. We expect the resumption of Etihad flights to
be welcomed by the considerable Sri Lankan expatriate community
living in the UAE and those living across the Middle East region
who will be able to connect quickly and easily back home via Abu
“Colombo will be our first new route launch
of 2010, and bring to 58 the number of destinations available
across our expanding global network.”
The timing of
the flights has been scheduled to facilitate onward
connections from a number of key destinations on the airline’s
network, including Moscow and North America.
EY266 will depart Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and
Sundays at 21:55 and arrive at Colombo’s Bandaranaike
international airport at 03:45 the following day. Return flight
EY267 will depart Colombo on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and
Saturdays at 04:45, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 08:00 the same
Colombo is located on the west coast of
the island and close to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the capital
city of Sri Lanka. Due to its large harbour and its strategic
position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo has a rich
sea trading tradition.
With a population of around
650,000 people, the city is the island’s commercial centre, home
to a majority of Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants and
entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include the
Galle Face Green, the Viharamahadevi Park and the National Museum.
Etihad Airways has offered flights to Colombo through
its codeshare partner, Sri Lankan Airlines, since September 2007.
Under this agreement, Etihad Airways places its ‘EY’ code on Sri
Lankan Airlines flights between Abu Dhabi and Colombo, and onwards
to Male in the Maldives. In turn, Sri Lankan Airlines ‘UL’ code
appears on Etihad Airways flight to Amman, Brussels, Dublin,
Geneva, Munich and Manchester.
To coincide with
the resumption of Etihad’s Colombo service, Sri Lankan Airlines
will now also add its ‘UL’ code on Etihad’s Abu Dhabi-Colombo
Etihad will operate a two-class Airbus
A320 to Colombo, configured to carry 140 passengers with 20 seats
in business class and 120 in economy class.
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