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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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SriLankan redoubles efforts to woo tourists from India

SriLankan Airlines has redoubled its efforts aimed at bringing more tourists to Sri Lanka from India, in support of the country's tourism industry.

Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, Manoj Gunawardena said, "We are fully focused on our responsibility as the National Carrier to support our own tourism industry, although the airline itself has a thriving business in transit passengers travelling through our hub in Colombo."

SriLankan's most recent promotion in India offered discounted fares throughout February for Indian travellers under 27 to enjoy exciting holidays in Sri Lanka. One condition of the offer was that travellers must spend a minimum of three days in Sri Lanka.

In the past, travel advisories in European countries have led to a drop in the number of arrivals from some of the island's traditional tourism markets, although tourists have never been targeted in the country's conflict.

The airline has invested heavily in recent years in publicising Sri Lanka as a destination in India, drawing attention to shopping, wide range of cuisine, superior hotel and convention facilities, cultural wonders and diverse climate and landscapes.

SriLankan Airlines is the only international carrier to have 100 flights per week to India, serving 11 cities - New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Coimbatore and Calicut.

Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent and the Maldives, Senaka Fernando said, "India is the largest country of origin of tourists to Sri Lanka, having replaced our earlier traditional markets in Europe every year since 2005."

More than 100,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka in 2007, and Sri Lanka Tourism said this is expected to double in the next two years.

The airline is focusing on the short flying time, with Colombo being only about an hour away from its six destinations in South India.

It has also drawn attention to the Katunayake International Airport as the finest in South Asia, with its new terminal, aerobridges, comfortable lounges, and well-stocked duty free shopping complex.

The airline also focuses on Indian travellers on board its flights in the region, with a wide selection of North Indian, South Indian and vegetarian dishes and a modern entertainment system which has the latest releases from Bollywood and the Tamil film industry.


Singapore Airlines sets another milestone

Singapore Airlines has set yet another milestone in the world of civil aviation, as the Airline flies the world's first commercial A380 flight to Europe.

The Singapore Airlines A380, carrying 449 customers on board flight SQ308, took off from Singapore's Changi Airport at 0900 hours on Tuesday.

The world's largest passenger aircraft then set off for the return flight from London - SQ319 - at 1855 hours and arrived in Singapore at 1535 hours on Wednesday.

Seventeen customers from nine countries, who flew on the world's first A380 commercial flight to Sydney in October 2007, joined Singapore Airlines in setting this milestone. Eight of these customers also intend to fly straight back, flying both first flight sectors.

Isabelle Chu, from Perth, Western Australia - also flew both ways on the first Singapore Airlines A340-500 non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles, and Singapore to New York, in 2004 - the world's longest non-stop flights.

Singapore Airlines is the first to fly the A380, and is currently the only airline to operate the superjumbo.

Since the launch of A380 operations to Sydney in October last year, Singapore Airlines has seen a very high level of interest and demand from customers, keen to experience the Airline's A380 cabin products, and a level of inflight service even other airlines talk about.

"Seats on both legs of the inaugural flight to London were snapped up soon after flight details were announced in late January this year, and forward bookings for A380 scheduled services there are strong," said Eng, Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Marketing and the Regions Huang Cheng .

"The strong demand we are witnessing highlights the superiority of the Singapore Airlines A380 product, and we are extremely heartened that customers all over the world are relishing the opportunity to experience comfort and luxury when they fly with us," Huang said.


Top accolade for Emirates Flight Catering Company

Top accolade for Emirates Flight Catering Company was awarded the prestigious "Malaysia Airlines Best Caterer" prize at a presentation ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The ceremony was attended by Malaysia Airlines' Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, board members and other senior management.

Emirates Flight Catering Company warded off stiff competition from Malaysia Airlines' and 55 catering stations worldwide to take the top accolade.

The award was adjudicated according to stringent quality standards and procedures and the working relationship between Malaysia's flag carrier and its flight caterers.

Receiving the award, Vice President Airport Catering Services, Faysal Moufarrej, said, "This award is a testament to the efforts of Emirates Flight Catering Company's 5,400 staff who work around the clock, every day of the year, to ensure that a consistent standard of excellence is achieved in our catering facilities and beyond.

We are currently preparing more than 85,000 meals for over 250 flights per day from Dubai International Airport. Every flight has different requirements, ranging from preferences for particular ethnic foods to other dietary specifications, and our ability to deliver these volumes in a hygienic and timely manner is an incredible feat."

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