President of Emirates Airline, which managed and part-owned SriLankan Airlines, and aviation industry leader Tim Clark said on Wednesday that looking for a strategic investor may not be the best option for the latter.
“Given the current aviation industry outlook and Sri Lanka’s tourism ambitions, finding a strategic investor may not be the best approach for SriLankan Airlines,” Clark told the Annual General Meeting of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka.
“Taking your destiny to your hands could be a better option as air connectivity is key to attracting international visitors,” he said.
Noting that though flag carriers are a rather antiquated concept, Clark said there are advantages of having a home-based airline that can support national tourism strategy. “This I believe can be profitable, but the question is how close should its business model be aligned with nation’s tourism goals and source markets, and where it can position itself so it is in a place of strength and can grow a competitive advantage,” said Clark, and added, “The answer may become clearer after a routes review of the business model.”
“As an airline executive, SriLankan Airlines should focus on building up a network in Asia and not so much in Europe,” opined Clark and added “build a solid route network in Asia and the region.
Let the foreign carriers do the rest and enter code share partnership where it make commercial sense.”
He also said Sri Lanka must maintain an open skies policy, invest in technology to ease customer journeys, and keep the airport modern and efficient as part of the concerted efforts to boost tourism.