Malaysia Airlines introduces daily flights to Colombo from KL

Monday, 28 March 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

The national carrier of Malaysia, Malaysian Airlines announced that it will now be increasing the frequency of flights to Sri Lanka from Malaysia from five times a week to daily flights, a change that will be implemented starting 27 March, 2011.

The additional two days which will commence from Colombo starting 28 March will be on Monday and Wednesday, an addition that will increase Malaysia Airlines’ capacity out of Colombo by 40 per cent.

“This is a very important milestone for Malaysia Airlines, achieved under just two years after we increased our frequency from four to five times and we are pleased that the tourism between Colombo and Kuala Lumpur and beyond is vibrant. Sri Lanka we can see is poised for better days and exponential growth and with the growing tourism sector here, Malaysia Airlines intends on staying competitive,” said the Area Manager of Sri Lanka and Maldives of Malaysia Airlines, Manmohan Singh. He added that the addition of two more flights to make it a daily operation is an indication of the huge confidence that they have in this important market for them and the services provided by Malaysian Airlines.

Singh also noted that there has been an increase of 10 to 15 per cent in the business traffic between the two countries which although is a small number will probably increase further with the two extra flights and the increasing amount of business Malaysian companies have here in Sri Lanka, especially in the telecommunication and power generating sectors.

In response to a question made about Malaysia Airlines’ role in making Sri Lanka an aviation hub, Singh affirmed that they would be willing to help set up an aviation hub here if the opportunity makes itself available and if the venture is in fact feasible. He also pointed out that the addition of the two flights would also enhance Sri Lanka’s status as an aviation hub.

The airlines  also has started operating the new generation B738 aircraft from Boeing, of which they have ordered 55 and this aircraft will be a regular feature on the Malaysia-Sri Lanka route by the end of this year. They will also be the first airline in Asia and the second airline in the world to take delivery of the B737-800 aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines has also recorded a net profit of RM 226 million in their fourth quarter last year and an overall net profit of RM 234 million in the 2010 financial year. Strong operational recovery was seen in 2010 with traffic up by 15% and capacity up by 4% however it has been predicted that the first quarter in 2011 will be tough for the airline. Reasons for this include the Middle East unrest and the economic uncertainties in Europe and North America; however measures are being taken to soften the impact of recent events. The Asia Pacific region is set to drive growth over the next five years which bodes well for Malaysia Airlines with both Malaysia and Sri Lanka tagged as two of the fastest growing markets for international pax traffic at 10.1% and 9.5% respectively.