SriLankan Airlines has plans well underway to commence services in Sydney during 2020. The Oneworld airline already flies into Melbourne but last flew into Australia’s biggest city in 2001.
SriLankan’s Chief Executive Officer Vipula Gunatilleka told TTF Media that the Sydney flights were on the horizon next year.
“Our daily Melbourne route has been excellent for us, particularly for the Indian market, and we expect Sydney to be similarly appealing.”
Mr Gunatilleka said he saw Sri Lanka as a natural stopover point for travellers on the way to Europe.
“Sri Lanka is a very good half-way point from the UK – 10 hours to Colombo, then 10 hours to Sydney.”
The airline had planned to recommence flights into Sydney this year but the Easter Sunday attacks in Colombo set back those plans and saw passenger numbers on SriLankan drop. Mr Gunatilleka said passenger numbers were bouncing back but still down on 2018 numbers.
SriLankan has been flying into Melbourne for two years, using A330s on the route between Colombo and Victoria’s capital city. In August 2019, the carrier flew 15,026 on its daily flights. It had a seat utilisation rate of 90.4% on Melbourne bound flights and 75.2% on its Colombo bound flights, giving the airline an average seat utilisation rate of 82.8% across the month – which is solid if not spectacular.
Australia has large Indian and Sri Lankan expat populations. Mr Gunatilleka said the Melbourne flights were popular with this group and he expected the Sydney flights to be equally popular.
While Sri Lanka is on many Australian’s bucket lists, security concerns have kept visitor numbers to Sri Lanka down. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advise travellers to exercise a high degree of caution.
At this point there is no firm start date for the SriLankan Airlines Sydney flights beyond the middle of 2020.
Categories: SriLankan Airlines