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Srilankan Airlines operates inaugural direct service between Melbourne and Colombo

October 31, 2017 Aviation No Comments Email Email

SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the prestigious oneworld alliance, made history today, with the commencement of the first-ever direct flight service between Colombo and Melbourne.

Touching down at 3.17pm ahead of its scheduled 3.25pm, the inaugural flight UL604 carried a host of Sri Lankan dignitaries, including Sri Lankan State Minister for State Enterprise and Development, the Hon. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Mr. Ajith Dias, SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte, and internationally renowned Sri Lankan cricketers, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena.

The delegation that welcomed UL604 included Melbourne Airport’s Chief of Aviation, Simon Gandy and Invest Victoria Senior Investment Manager, Nigel Aldons.

The highly anticipated 10-hour flight service will provide an unprecedented level of convenience and comfort not only to the Sri Lankans residing in Victoria but also to Australian travellers expecting to explore Sri Lanka and beyond.

SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte said “We’re excited to be connecting Melbourne and Colombo like never before. Australia is home to one of the largest Sri Lankan expatriate communities, many of whom reside in and around Melbourne, and our two countries share many interests and passions – making for a rich, cultural exchange in the way of tourism and trade,” Capt. Ratwatte said.

SriLankan Airlines Manager Australia and New Zealand, Sanjeeva Jayatileke said the new direct connectivity is in view of the steady increase in passengers travelling between Colombo and Melbourne via various Asian connection points such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

“Aussies are known for their love of bespoke travel and in recent years, Sri Lanka has gathered attention and interest as one of Asia’s most authentic cultural destinations.

“Tens of thousands of Australians flock to Sri Lanka and the Maldives each year, whether that’s to visit friends and family, on business, or to experience some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, best surf breaks and untouched wilderness.

Adding to the appeal of the country’s eternal summer, Sri Lanka’s top attractions include iconic tea plantations, ancient kingdoms and stunning colonial architecture. Wildlife is also in abundance, with Yala National Park boasting the highest population density of leopards in the world and Sri Lanka ranking as one of the most likely destinations to spot a majestic blue whale.

The new non-stop service will also solidify Colombo’s position as a vibrant gateway city, for travellers seeking onward connectivity. SriLankan Airlines currently connects to 14 Indian points with over 120 flights a week, the highest number of Indian destinations served by any international carrier, and over sixty weekly flights to and from nine Middle Eastern destinations. The Airline also offers connectivity to popular holiday destinations such as the Seychelles, and Malé & Gan Island in the Maldives.

“As the national carrier of Sri Lanka, we look forward to providing our award-winning service, delivered with world-renowned Sri Lankan warmth and hospitality, as Australians travel to Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and beyond,” continued Mr. Jayatileke.

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Simon Gandy said he is delighted to welcome SriLankan Airlines to the Melbourne Airport family.

“We are thrilled to launch SriLankan Airlines daily non-stop service between Melbourne and Colombo adding much-needed capacity into such a key route.

“Thanks to SriLankan Airlines we are able to better connect family and friends through this direct, non-stop service. With so many cultural experiences to choose from in Sri Lanka, we’re confident the route is going to be a busy one with tourists as well,” said Mr. Gandy.

SriLankan Airlines’ daily service from Melbourne to Colombo will operate on an Airbus A330200 departing at 4:55pm (local time) each day, which includes 18 Business Class seats and 251 Economy Class seats.

All SriLankan Airlines flights include a dedicated childcare stewardess, comfortable seating, entertainment options and a calming ambience.

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