Cyprus Airways, which recently launched its first flights to the Indian Sub-continent with a twice-weekly, non-stop Dubai-Colombo service, says it will now actively investigate the development of further Sub-continent routes.
“This twice-weekly service, which originates in Larnaca, has proved a tremendous success with strong interest from the Gulf labour market and outbound tourism sector. In addition, there has also been considerable interest from Cypriot tourists and European tour operators who wish to access Sri Lanka from the many European destinations we fly from,” said Achilleas Kyprianou, vice-chairman, Cyprus Airways.
“Our flights this month look particularly promising and we believe we can safely assume an exciting new year.
“In many ways this service, which is the longest haul flight of any on the Cyprus Airways’ extensive network of 32 destinations, has been a test case and the response we have received leads us to believe that demand could be equally as strong for other Sub-continent destinations.”
Cyprus Airways, which has been flying to the Gulf for 27 years, now flies from Dubai to Colombo every Wednesday and Saturday using an Airbus A320.
On Wednesdays, flight CY 396 takes off from Dubai International Airport at 01.15, arriving at Bandarnaike International at 07.45 local time. On Saturdays, flight CY 396 departs Dubai at 13.15 and arrives in the Sri Lankan capital at 19.45 local time.
“The tourism potential of Sri Lanka, which offers amazing value for money, is extensive and we are working closely with our GSA in Colombo, to design competitive and appealing tour packages,” added Kyprianou.
Cyprus Airways’ GSA in Sri Lanka is Allied Lanka Travels (Pvt) Ltd., which is part of the island’s giant Green Lanka Group.
With the introduction of the Larnaca-Dubai-Colombo service, Cyprus Airways now operates four return Dubai-Larnaca flights a week, instead of the previous two. The carrier now flies from Dubai to Larnaca every Wednesday and Thursday with two flights on a Sunday, one in the early morning, the other late evening.
“The additional flights from Dubai to Larnaca make for more convenient connections for onward travel with Cyprus Airways to Athens, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Milan, Paris and Frankfurt,” said Kyprianou.
Meanwhile, the Cypriot flag carrier is offering a special introductory Dhs1,150 fare on return economy tickets to Colombo valid until April 30, 2004. The fare is one of the most competitive in the market. Cyprus Airways believes the Larnaca-Dubai-Colombo service will enable it to continue its passenger growth trend on Middle East routes.
In 2002 the carrier bucked the global civil aviation trend by increasing passenger traffic throughout the Middle East and on most international routes. Cyprus Airways carried 1,654,719 passengers on all routes last year – a 9.9 per cent increase and the second-largest rise the carrier recorded in a decade.
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