Business Times

India’s low-fare carrier enters Sri Lankan airspace

By Chanaka de Silva

India’s low cost carrier Spice Jet entered the Sri Lankan airspace last week with Colombo being its second international destination. Spice Jet will operate daily flights to India, arriving in Colombo at night and an early morning departure to Chennai. The airline recently launched flights to Kathmandu.

Speaking to the Business Times on why Colombo was added to the network, Spice Jet Promoter and Director B. S. Kansagra said there is a lot of demand in India now for flights to Sri Lanka. He said Spice Jet offers the best fares across the board, and has now decided to extend this opportunity to the Sri Lankans who wish to visit India.

“Colombo is known as a good shopping destination. Here the fabrics are very competitively priced compared to India. There are also a lot of other attractions here in Sri Lanka. Tourists from both our countries can benefit especially from the special low cost fares offered by Spice Jet,” he said.

Commenting further of the future plans of expansion, Mr Kansagra said, “depending on the numbers we will be looking at another flight out of Colombo and hopping flights (two destinations in one package) by the end of the first quarter 2011. We are also looking at having direct flights to other Indian cities. We are looking at an average 80 % load per flight on this route.”

He said the airline’s main attraction to passengers is that the earlier one books on Spice Jet, the cheaper the fare. “There are other incentives on baggage allowances and benefits which has been a major contributor to our success in a very short period of existence. Judging from the current research the most likely next destination to be added will be Mumbai,” Mr Kansagra said.

Asked about the promotions that are being done, he said, “we are advertizing Colombo heavily as the new destination that we fly to. We want to see that Colombo becomes a standard destination for all Spice Jet travellers. That is why as with our other destinations we fly daily to Colombo. Our travellers always know that Spice Jet flies daily and it will be easy to plan their itineraries.”

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