SriLankan Airlines is fast turning Colombo into a hub for air travel, steadily increasing the number of passengers in transit through the island’s international airport.
Three years ago, only 28 per cent of passengers carried by SriLankan through Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) were in transit - a little over a quarter. The bulk of travellers were tourists visiting Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans returning from overseas.
Today, the number of transit passengers has more than doubled, and the total number of passengers carried by the airline has increased by a third. Nearly half of its traffic (46 per cent) is now transit passengers, a number that is continuously increasing.
“We at SriLankan take great pride in offering rapid connectivity to travellers through Colombo, in order to maximise convenience. We actively work towards minimising waiting periods which we know is one of the most annoying aspects of international air travel,” said CEO of SriLankan Peter Hill.
The rise in transit passengers has been as steady as it has been impressive, from 28 per cent in 2003/04 to 36 per cent the next year, 42 per cent in 2005/06, to the current 46 per cent.
Transit numbers remained steady at 46 per cent during the six-month period between April and September 2007, despite flight schedules being disrupted for several months due to a temporary night-time closure of BIA. With the airport now back to its 24-hour operation, the number is expected to increase.
BIA boasts of some of the most modern comforts and amenities among airports anywhere, and has a reputation as the finest in South Asia. Although it does not compare in size to the world’s major hubs, it has a new terminal with modern aerobridges, sophisticated passenger counters and baggage handling systems, and a well-stocked duty free shopping complex.
SriLankan’s business class lounge there has drawn praise from high-end travellers as being second to none.
With SriLankan having positioned Colombo as the gateway to India, a large proportion of transit passengers are flying to and from the 11 cities that the airline serves there.
SriLankan last year became the first foreign carrier to operate 100 weekly flights to India. It is a firm favourite among South Indian labour traffic to the Middle East, North Indians travelling to the Far East for leisure, and Indians domiciled overseas who are visiting their country of origin. The airline’s route network now serves 54 cities in 28 countries.Original Artical