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Monday, September 29, 2014

Mihin Lanka expands with new Lahore route and increased flight frequencies to the Seychelles

Rohana Perera - Head of Commercial, Mihin Lanka
Rohana Perera - Head of Commercial, Mihin Lanka
Mihin Lanka, Sri Lanka’s national low-cost carrier will expand its operations this winter by introducing flights to Lahore in Pakistan and increasing its frequencies to the Seychelles. Mihin Lanka already services several destinations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Far East and will expand further to meet the growing demand for flights due to an increase in tourism and trade.

Commenting on the new route to Lahore, Rohana Perera, Head of Commercial, Mihin Lanka, said, “Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city and contributes to 60 percent of Pakistan’s GDP. The new route will enhance regional connectivity and strengthen economic and trade ties between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.  The potential for export cargo is immense in Lahore as the city is a thriving commercial hub and exports textiles, raw material, carpets, sports goods, surgical equipment, fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also a significant demand for cargo uplifts from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, especially with the export of beetle leaves which are in high demand.
The city of Lahore also has several tourist attractions, making it an ideal holiday destination for Sri Lankans. Lahore also has a growing demand for outbound travel to the Far East and destinations in South East Asia and this is another opportunity which MihinLanka hopes to capitalize on further together with its code share partner SriLankan Airlines. At present no other airline directly services the Lahore route and Mihin Lanka will commence flights in November 2014 with three flights per week (scheduled every Monday, Wednesday and Friday). The flying time from Colombo to Lahore is approximately four hours and flights will depart from Colombo at 19.45 hrs.

With effect from 30 October 2014, Perera also advised that Mihin Lanka will commence its third frequency to the Seychelles. At present, Mihin Lanka operates two flights per week to the Seychelles every Tuesday and Saturday. The airline will operate its third flight every Thursday. The decision to commence flights to the Seychelles was made after His Excellency; President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Republic of Seychelles in June 2013 which resulted in the signing of the bilateral Air Services Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Seychelles. Under the President’s guidance, Mihin Lanka began offering convenient flights to the Seychelles; a popular holiday destination and important trade partner for Sri Lanka.

Highlighting the success of the Seychelles route, Perera further stated, “Mihin Lanka has experienced immense growth in passenger and cargo uplifts to the Seychelles over a short period of time and the flights have contributed significantly to the airline’s success. Mihin Lanka commenced its operations to the Seychelles with two flights per week with just over 50 percent cabin factor. In the short span of six months, the airline has managed to achieve 70 percent cabin factor. During this short period, there has been a significant increase in business between Sri Lanka and the Seychelles. Mihin Lanka hopes that the third flight in the schedule will provide passengers with the opportunity to increase their travel between both countries for business and leisure.”

The route from Sri Lanka to the Seychelles also supports a strong trade partnership between both countries. Sri Lankan fruits and vegetables as well as readymade garments and construction materials are exported continuously to the Seychelles from Sri Lanka. Mihin Lanka has also uplifted an average of three tons of cargo containing mostly perishables on every flight to date and the increase in frequency will provide further opportunities for Sri Lankan exporters to expand their businesses in the Seychelles. The additional flight to the Seychelles will also help increase tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. At present many tourists from the Seychelles visit Sri Lanka, for business and leisure. In addition to this, medical tourism is also on the rise as many Seychellois visitors seek medical advice and treatments at Sri Lankan hospitals. By increasing the frequency of flights to the Seychelles, Mihin Lanka is directly contributing to Sri Lanka’s growing tourism industry whilst simultaneously supporting the country’s economic development.

Commenting on the new flights, Nishantha Ranatunga, Chairman / CEO, Mihin Lanka stated, “We have increased our flight frequencies to the Seychelles because the route benefited from steady growth and proved to be highly profitable. In a short period of time, the Seychelles route contributed significantly towards our bottom line and a third flight will further support this momentum of growth. The introduction of Mihin Lanka flights to Lahore will also support trade and business partnerships between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Our expansion with these routes will help us grow our business exponentially by increasing passenger and cargo uplifts. As Sri Lanka’s national low-cost airline, Mihin Lanka remains dedicated to providing our passengers with continued comfort, convenience and affordability. We also remain committed to achieving growth for the airline in order to further support the development of the country.”

Mihin Lanka is a leading low-cost airline in South Asia that operates across many destinations in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and South East Asia. Since its launch in 2007, Mihin Lanka has come a long way, becoming one of the region’s most admired affordable travel brands. The airline strives to maintain the highest standards and is the only low-cost airline which provides a complimentary on-board meal and a free checked-in baggage allowance.  Focused on delivering the best to its customers, Mihin Lanka continuously adapts to passenger needs, in order to further fulfill its mission of being the leading low-cost airline in the region.

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