Due to expanding demand for travel from from Asia to Kenya, SriLankan Airlines is set to increase its flight frequencies starting October.
This comes months after the airline started a weekly flight from Colombo to Nairobi.
Regional Manager for Middle East and Northern Africa, Amitabh Anthonypillai said plans and arrangements by the carrier to launch the second flight in late October were being finalised.
He said growing passenger demand and near capacity cargo volumes have led to the move, as the Sri Lankan national carrier seeks to tap the rising Asian-Nairobi demand and that from other parts of the continent.
“We (SriLankan Airlines) are looking to a deeper partnership with the Kenyan national carrier as well as other regional and international carriers operating to Jomo Kenyatta to offer a more holistic product for the airlines’ travelers to Kenya.”
The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kenya Veluppillai Kananathan said the launch of the direct flights comes at the back of air travel pact between Kenya and Sri Lanka, a boost to local tourism and manufacturers.
“The air connectivity established by SriLankan Airlines between Colombo and Nairobi made all the difference in the bilateral efforts to promote trade, investment and tourism… the Sri Lankan High Commission will continue to work with all stakeholders of relevant economic activities in Kenya to make the air connectivity sustainable and commercially viable,” Kananathan said.
Ruwan Fernando, CEO of Mayleen Limited said they were incredibly pleased to have many visitors travelling to Kenya by SriLankan Airlines from its Asia Pacific network indicating that the direct flights between the two countries have reduced passenger costs and travel time.
“The movement indicates Kenya’s pivotal role as an important business and leisure destination in the African continent, boosting the local travel and tourism sector.”
“The direct flights have cut the travel time from Nairobi to Colombo to about six hours, from nearly 13 hours when one had to do the indirect flights through the Middle East,” Ruwan said.
Meanwhile, in a press statement on Tuesday, SriLankan Airlines which currently operates a total of eight flights per week from the cities of Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore to Colombo said it will be increasing flight frequencies and adding new destinations from September 1.
SriLankan Airlines started operations to Nairobi in April 2021 with the flight scheduled every Thursday to Nairobi and return to Colombo on Friday using its Airbus A330-300 aircraft.
The direct flights between the two cities is fast improving the fortunes of Kenyan flower firms and helping boost the battered tourism sector through the visitors drawn from Sri Lanka and the Asia Pacific region.
by Joyce Mukucha