ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25
Financial Times  

SriLankan Airlines geared to face future challenges

SriLankan Airlines’ global sales team concluded its annual conference in Colombo recently with a renewed desire to put Sri Lanka back on the global tourism map.

“Who says nothing is happening in Sri Lanka these days? The island recently won an unprecedented four PATA Gold Awards. Colombo is coming alive again.

Hotels are getting back to their busy days with food festivals, jazz and Latino festivals, and a myriad other activities,” said Peter Hill, CEO of SriLankan.

“The city’s restaurants and nightspots are a hive of activity; and shopping plazas will draw large crowds with their seasonal sales. Sri Lanka is also hosting the England cricket team on a cricket tour and the Rugby Asiad, as well as the airline’s own events,” said Mr. Hill.

The Commercial Conference at the Waters Edge on 16th and 17th October brought together the airline’s Country Managers, General Sales Agents, and Passenger Sales Agents from more than 30 countries, as well as key managers from its Colombo offices and supporting departments.

Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, exhorted the global sales team to use the experience of successfully overcoming adverse market conditions in the past several years, to good use in the coming year. The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) hosted the entire SriLankan Airlines sales team to cocktails during the event, reaffirming the support of the country’s hospitality industry towards the National Carrier’s efforts.

“This airline has weathered quite a storm in recent years and has emerged stronger than ever before.

It is now time to turn SriLankan Airlines from a good airline to a truly great one,” said Mr. Gunawardena.

“Our product is strong, and our team is even stronger. We believe that turning Colombo into a hub is the way to go for the future.

The Bandaranaike International Airport is the finest in the South Asian region and we intend to leverage it to the country’s advantage.”

Mr. Hill noted that the airline has recorded a good commercial performance in the last three months, and that its route network has expanded to 54 destinations in 28 countries with the launch of services to the southern Indian city of Coimbatore.

At the conference, members of the airline’s senior management briefed the sales team on innovations and developments throughout the company that would support their efforts.

These include new frontiers in E-business and Corporate Communications; new products and services in the areas of Service Delivery, SriLankan Holidays, SriLankan Cargo, and SriLankan Engineering; and a renewed focus on motivating its employees to greater heights.

The team was also given an overview of the challenges that are expected in the coming year, both by the global air travel industry, and more specifically by Sri Lanka and SriLankan Airlines.

Several of the airline’s other key departments will be hosting similar conferences of their global teams in November, including SriLankan Holidays; Airport Service Department; and SriLankan Cargo, to renew their focus on promoting the airline and Sri Lanka.


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