The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is witnessing a surge of international passenger movements in the first eight months of 2023 and will touch the 5 million mark by the end of this month.
From January to August 2023 it has seen 4,894,740 passenger movements and it’s an increase of 35.78% as against the corresponding period of last year. When compare the number of tourists who came to Sri Lanka by air in the first 8 months of 2022 the percentage of tourists arriving in 2023 shows an increase of 77.31%.
It is expected that 1.3 – 1.5 million tourists will use the airport facilities this year 2023. International Aircraft Movements too increased by 19.34 % (29,813) in the first 8 months of 2023 in comparison to the same period in 2022.
This positive sentiment along with revenue generated from other airports, (Ratmalana, Jaffna and Mattala) along with other revenue, the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited a fully government owned company is expected to pass the Rs. 30 billion turnover end of the financial year.
AASL is also expected to post a net profit in the excess of Rs. 5 billion this financial year. However due to import restrictions and dip in global economic activities there was a dip in Cargo Movements (MT) of 15.46 % in the first 8 months of 2023 as against the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile the newly introduced Gold Route in last August too has become a major success and it earned over USD 200,000 revenue so far contributing to earning additional foreign currency for the country. At present, it offers only the Silk Route Service facility for commercially important passengers on a payment basis which does not target the HNWIs.
“ Therefore with the objective of serving the travel needs of the aviation and tourism industry, AASL launched its newly established service product under the brand name of ‘GOLD ROUTE’ to provide a ‘Premium Airport Experience’ for its valued passengers those who travel through the BIA, ” an official of the BIA said.
Russia’s Red Wing to fly daily to Mattala, Kuwait Air and Saudi Air to add BIA
One of the leading airlines in Russia, Red Wing, has announced plans to operate daily flights to Mattala International airport (MRIA) from the end of the year.
Red wing Airline which is the only international airline currently operating international flights to MRIA resumed flights in December, 2022 with a daily service but it was scaled down to two due to the low summer traffic. The airline is now planning to increase flights daily from the end of the year.
Uzbekistan Airways is also expected to resume flights to MRIA for the winter season. Electra Airways, a European Air Charter, Bulgarian airline and SCAT Airlines also operated flights to MRIA recently. Meanwhile Sri Lankan CEO, Richard Nuttel announced plans to operate domestic flights to Jaffna international airport (JIA) from BIA, making it the first international carrier to operate scheduled flights from BIA.
India’s Alliance Air which commenced international flight operations on December 12, 2022 to JIA with 4 flights per week later transitioned it to daily flights from June 7, 2023.
Meanwhile two leading Gulf carriers, Kuwait Air and Saudi Air too will relaun their operations to Colombo this year.