At least four new operators are currently awaiting licensing of their domestic carriers to meet the growing demand for air travel within Sri Lanka, a regulatory official said.
Sri Lanka has seen a surge in the number of domestic carriers willing to meet the local demand for travel within the island nation by air evident in the number of applications sent to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
CAA Deputy Director Operations T.N. Deen told the Business Times that four prospective operators Cinnamon Air, Hybrid, Lakvin and Richie Skylark were close to getting final approval.
At present, there are local operators like Expo Air, Deccan, Senok, Daya Aviation, Cosmos and the Sri Lanka Air Force-run Helitours that carry out local commercial operations increasing the traffic in the domestic airspace. Mr. Deen observed there was a “huge demand” with many attempting to get into the business.
He pointed out that currently airport infrastructure was also moving into place with a number of domestic airports on the rise for development.
Cinnamon Air would start operations most likely in a month or two, he said adding that should the other carriers comply with regulator’s requirements they would be capable of commence business before the close of this year.
Meanwhile SriLankan Airlines is offering special fares to Mattala and back on its scheduled flights from Colombo to an overseas destination with a stopover in Mattala and vice versa.
Flight fares were advertised for Rs.2999 one way and Rs.4999 excluding taxes, noted the airline’s Chief Marketing Officer G.T. Jayaseelan. He said they have not set any targets to generate customers on this market but was mainly carried out with the intention of promoting the new Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).
Tickets will be issued on a seat availability basis, he said. Holiday packages to Kataragama and Yala have also been announced on a seat-availability basis.