Thursday, 27 February 2020 07:16

India’s GoAir turns bullish on Sri Lanka

Popular Indian low-cost carrier GoAir yesterday announced Colombo as its first international destination for 2020, and 10th in its network, with plans to start flights to and from Sri Lanka from Delhi and Bangalore from 20 March. The airline is working in partnership with the aviation sector of iconic Sri Lankan multinational conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC as its General Sales Agent (GSA) in Colombo.

GoAir Vice President Sales Ruchika Singh told journalists in Colombo that the entry into Sri Lanka was in line with the growth strategy that they adopted since 2018 for international markets.

“When we started our international operations, Sri Lanka was very much a part of our growth plan.

The trade and investment environment between India and Sri Lanka has seen an exponential improvement over the recent years, particularly in the areas of education, culture, defence and tourism,” she added.

GoAir styling itself as the fastest growing airline, stepped into the international market in 2018, with the launch of flight to Phuket followed by Malé, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Dubai, Bangkok, Kuwait and Dammam.

The airline has introduced two new routes daily except on Wednesday’s with attractive return fares starting at Rs. 35,512 for Colombo-Delhi-Colombo flights and Rs. 24,900 for Colombo-Bengaluru-Colombo flights.

“Sri Lanka is an important destination in South Asia, known for attracting both business and leisure travellers. GoAir has a desire to cater to those segments by providing punctual, affordable and convenient operations,” Singh pointed out.

She said Delhi and Bengaluru offer direct connectivity to the popular Buddhist pilgrimage circuit, which includes places such as Bodhgaya, Vaishali, Rajgir in Bihar and Sarnath, Shravasti, Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh.

“GoAir has direct flights to Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Patna (Bihar) from Delhi and Bengaluru. We have a lots to offer to guests coming from Sri Lanka to India from culture, heritage, multi-cuisine, historical monuments, nature and many more. There is something for everyone,” she added.

She also noted that as a low cost carrier, GoAir has the highest load factor, lowest number of cancellations and lowest number of complaints.

As GoAir takes these steps to expand into more destinations, she said they also endeavour to partner with the best companies like Aitken Spence and commended for the strong support that they received in Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence PLC Director and Head of Business Development and Plantations Dr. Rohan Fernando said Royal Spence, a fully owned subsidiary of Aitken Spence, is extremely pleased to be associated with this airline partnership of GoAir marking Sri Lanka as its 10th international destination.

Aitken Spence has been in the business of representing airlines for over 40 years with representations in Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh.

“We are confident that this partnership will grow to serve the local market and serve the growing demand for India as a destination,” Dr. Fernando added.

When asked if there are any plans to consider Mattala and Jaffna for new destinations, Singh said not at the moment, adding that they continuously evaluate destinations, density and demand.

GoAir Vice President Public Relations and Corporate Communications Bakul Gala said that the airline has placed a firm order of 144 Airbus 320neo aircrafts, where they will be receiving one aircraft every month on average for the next seven to eight years.

Having started the GoAir journey in 2005, the airline has carried 80 million passengers since its inception. GoAir flies to 27 domestic Indian destinations namely Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jammu, Kochi, Kolkata, Kannur, Leh, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Port Blair, Pune, Ranchi, Srinagar and Varanasi. GoAir has been rated amongst the top 10 most punctual airlines in Asia by Cirium and we have earned four-out-of-four star ratings from 1.4 million passengers in the US-based APEX survey.

It has a fleet comprising of Airbus 320, where it operates 380 daily flights across 35 destinations in India and overseas. In the last two years, GoAir has doubled its fleet from 25 aircrafts to 54 and has added over 100 flights. It launched seven international and four domestic destinations in the calendar year 2019.

GoAir is the aviation foray of India’s 283-year-old Wadia Group that comprises leading brands including 156-year-old Bombay Burmah, 140-year-old Bombay Dyeing, 101-year-old Britannia Ltd., 65-year-old National Peroxide Limited, the decade old Bombay Realty and many others.

(FT)

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