Tuesday, 17 September 2013 00:33
The recently concluded Annual General Meeting of the IATA and TAASL Associations were held successfully in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Traveller Global Ltd. Chairman/Managing Director Rizmi Reyal was appointed President of IATA and assumed office with an inspiring speech calling for unity and collaboration within the industry in order to promote and develop Sri Lanka.
Having flown Mihin Lanka for the first time to Indonesia for the AGM, Reyal was pleasantly surprised to discover the level of finesse that Mihin Lanka possessed. Coming forward as a sponsor for the event, Mihin Lanka flew all 127 passengers participating in the AGM to Jakarta and back. This journey not only afforded the members of IATA and TAASL to experience Jakarta as a destination but also the opportunity to see for themselves the reality of Mihin Lanka’s superior service and flight.
Past President of IATA and Atlas Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. Chairman S. Paramanathan, was convinced that Mihin Lanka although a low cost carrier could not be equated to other such carriers in the world as the service levels and comfort levels were exceedingly high and in fact almost on par with regular carriers.
Classic Travel CEO and TAASL President Suresh Mendis, being a relatively regular Mihin Lanka flyer was mostly impressed with the staff. He stressed the need for Mihin Lanka as the national low cost carrier, and SriLankan as the national carrier, to complement each other in their destinations and service.
As leading members of the industry, these prominent guests were of the strong opinion that what was most important was that as Sri Lankan nationals it was vitally important that industry members promoted and encouraged not only the national carrier but also the low cost carrier in a concentrated effort to uplift the image of the nation.
“For me, Mihin Lanka has a lot of potential. They are consistently flying to the right destinations and offering unprecedented comforts and convenience. Additionally having embarked on their flight with a standard expectation it was a pleasure to experience Mihin Lanka exceeding expectations over and beyond the norm. The service was exceptional and I was very impressed with the staff. It wasn’t just on this trip with all industry members but this is something I have observed on other trips as well. For all the critics and sceptics who have not flown Mihin Lanka or flew Mihin Lanka only at its inception, I would strongly urge you to travel on Mihin Lanka now. All you need to do is experience Mihin Lanka to know that it is different,” said TAASL President Suresh Mendis.
Having founded IATA in 1988, Udaya Nannayakkara first began with nine travel agencies. Twenty five years later, the association has grown into a membership of 117 agencies. Initially the AGM’s were held overseas in order to afford the travel agents who promote destinations to experience these destinations for themselves. Although the practice gradually petered out it was revived a few years back and as Indonesia is on the brink of being recognised as an economically upcoming country, Jakarta was the popular venue for this year’s AGM.
At this silver jubilee AGM, Nannayakkara, as the founding member, was a special guest whilst Mihin Lanka and SriLankan Airlines CEO Kapila Chandrasena, was the chief guest.
Having been a part of the organising committee, Past President IATA, S. Paramanathan said: “Travel Agents having experienced firsthand the unique service and hospitality of Mihin Lanka , have a responsibility and duty to promote the airline in its venture to establish a Sri Lankan identity. I have flown budget and low cost carriers before but on Mihin Lanka I am able to relax, adjust my seat, enjoy a meal, request for a drink of water and indulge in many other conveniences that I would never find on any other low cost carrier. The crew is very obliging and polite and this is something that is lacking in other airlines. As a Sri Lankan I am very proud to see how far the airline, the industry and the nation has come on their journey towards development.”
Being a practical person committed towards continuing the development drive in the industry IATA President Reyal has close to 30 years experience in the industry. Having worked with many other airlines in his career he truly sees a difference in what Mihin Lanka offers. “Time is money for businessmen. They have no time to waste sitting around in airports waiting for their transit. When Mihin Lanka began its direct flights to Dhaka, Bangladesh and Jakarta, Indonesia, it heralded a new era in business travel. Many of the agents here at the AGM themselves have branches and other business interests in these destinations, and the ability to fly direct is a convenience that is very valuable. Having flown Mihin Lanka for the first time for this AGM, I can say that you certainly get more than your money’s worth when you fly with Mihin. It is not the Mihin Lanka it was when the service started. There is a big potential here and it is our duty to assist the nation in developing it because the rapid developments taking place at the moment in our country is not for our benefit but for our children the future generation,” he said.