Sri Lankan Airlines counts on India for a revival in travel and tourism

Sri Lankan Airlines counts on India for a revival in travel and tourism

22 June 2021 03:52 pm

Sri Lankan Airlines is counting on India for a revival in travel and tourism, its Chairman Ashoka Pathirage has emphasised. 

“We all are waiting for Indian traffic because it’s very critical for us. If you ask my personal perspective, we are actually counting on India. Eventually, we are going to come out of this and people are just waiting to start travelling,” Pathirage has toldETHospitalityWorld in an interview. 

It said SriLankan Airlines was fighting to get the air bubble agreement with India going before the second wave unfortunately hit. The airline had a big outreach plan and increased frequency of flights in place and was about to push for business, he said.

According to the report, the way forward in Pathirage’s view would be vaccination. He felt that within the next two months, Sri Lanka would be able to vaccinate 40-50% of its population. 

The island already had a protocol where vaccinated tourists could enter the country after one PCR test, something which he said could come back, he hoped within the next three or four weeks.

 Pathirage was quoted as saying “things will settle down and Sri Lanka will go back to the previous quarantine rule.“ Sri Lanka  will consider accepting people with a double vaccine and with one PCR test. 

 He added that it’s not only about Sri Lanka, this is global. IATA can play a bigger role in this and push for a vaccine passport. 

“ Sri  Lankan Airlines needs to think about our strategy in terms of survival today and it has  to navigate this period. It’s not only about that for SriLankan Airlines, it’s about how the Air line  is e going to build itself and  to make use of this opportunity down the line, and build this airline up to another level. 

It needs to work towards that. In the last one-and-a-half years, we did a lot of work in terms of cutting costs and becoming a leaner organisation,” he said, adding that as soon as they could lease their aircraft at the right market price, they could survive and make money.

“I think that we are strong. We can obviously grow to the next level. Our dream is to develop something to the level of Emirates or Qatar Airways and if the organisation is allowed to run independently without political interference, I think it can make it there,” Pathirage had told ETHospitalityWorld.