SRILANKAN Airlines will start direct daily flights from Colombo to Kuwait and Dubai from May 1, replacing the current Kuwait-Dubai-Colombo route.
GT Jeyaseelan, chief marketing officer of SriLankan Airlines, told TTG Asia e-Daily that the direct flights were launched to meet increasing demand. Passengers from these two locations are mainly workers from Sri Lanka and India.
The airline also said it was increasing seat capacity to Saudi Arabia by adding a 314-seater Airbus A340 on the Colombo-Jeddah route to cater to a growing number of Muslims visiting Mecca during Ramadan.
The state-owned carrier has been reorganising its operations in recent times, adding more flights to Asian destinations, such as China and India, while reducing flights to Europe.
In early April, the airline announced the suspension of flights to Zurich, Rome and Milan during off-peak periods, citing rising fuel costs, operational costs and lower passenger loads. However, the decision was reversed a few days later, and the airline said it would keep the services going.
No reason was given by the airline, but some reports have said that the Catholic authorities had appealed to the government to continue the flights as many Sri Lankans visit the Vatican.