Record number of Maldivian Eid holiday goers head to Sri Lanka

During that period, 11,000 people would travel to Colombo from Male, while 9,500 tickets had been sold for Colombo-Male flights

„ By Abdullah Jameel

Haveeru Online: A record number of Maldivians are set to visit neighbouring Sri Lanka during the upcoming Eid holidays, SriLankan Airlines said on Thursday.

Eid al-Adha, one of t wo important religious holidays observed by Muslims around the world, would fall on next Thursday.

Friday and Saturday being the weekend, t he government had declared the period from Sunday to Wednesday and September 27 as public holidays as well in order to ensure the continuity of the holiday period.

Ahmed Ijaz, the Sales Manager at Ace Travels, SriLankan Airline’s local sales agent, told Haveeru that the airline is scheduled to operate 55 flights between Male and Sri Lankan capital Colombo from Thursday to September 29. During that period, 11,000 people would travel to Colombo from Male, while 9,500 tickets had been sold for Colombo-Male flights, he said.

“The 11,000 people were all Maldivians. We’ve received an unprecedented demand for this Eid holiday,” Ijaz said.

According to Ijaz, the increased demand had forced SriLankan Airlines to add a midnight flight during the period from Sunday to September 29. The airline, he said, would also shift to Airbus A330 and A340 aircrafts, each having a seating capacity of 296 in the Economy Class and eight in the Business Class, in order to cater for the increased demand.

“Tickets for all except the midnight flights have been sold out. There isn’t a single unsold seat on other flights. Even Business Class seats have been sold out,” Ijaz said.

SriLankan Airlines is considered to be t he preferred choice of outbound travellers from the Maldives. In addition to Sri Lanka’s flag carrier, UAE’s Emirates also operates a daily flight from Male to Colombo and back.

Going abroad with family and/or friends is just one way Maldivians enjoy during the Eid holidays. Many residing in the crowded capital city of Male also head to other inhabited islands, mostly to their native islands.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

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