Archive for October, 2015

DB Schenker partners with Aitken Spence in Sri Lanka and Maldives

As at 1st September 2015, DB Schenker welcomes DBS Logistics Ltd as its newest network partner for Sri Lanka and Maldive Islands.

DBS Logistics Ltd was formed to solely represent DB Schenker in Sri Lanka and Maldives for Air & Ocean Freight as well as Project Cargo. The setup of DBS Logistics was led by Aitken Spence Plc, a publicly listed conglomerate founded in Sri Lanka since 1868. Aitken Spence has diversified interests, which include maritime cargo logistics as well as strategic investments and services. Aitken Spence is one of the largest logistics service providers in Sri Lanka and has pioneered the industry in the country.

Dr Parakrama Dissanayake – chairman of Aitken Spence Maritime and Logistics Sector and Director of Aitken Spence said, “This partnership in Sri Lanka and Maldives brings together the expertise and experience of a global leader and a regional leader, which will form a catalyst to propel growth. Imagination is what drives innovation & solutions, and together, DB Schenker and Aitken Spence have the imagination to make greater things happen.”

Added Anders Wallin, Chief Financial Officer, Schenker (Asia Pacific) P/L, “DB Schenker has had a long relationship with Sri Lanka since 1980. This new partnership with DBS Logistics marks a new chapter, which will take us to another level of growth in these two important markets, especially benefitting our customers across industries, such as Fashion/Retail, Electronics, Industrial, Healthcare, Automotive, Aerospace and others.”

As DB Schenker’s exclusive Network Partner for Air Freight, Ocean Freight and Project Cargo in Sri Lanka and Maldives, the appointment of DBS Logistics will enable better integration of services as well as enhanced capabilities and quality of service in the two territories.

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Mihin Lanka offers 3 weekly flights to Chennai


Mihin Lanka has started offering three weekly direct flights from Colombo to Chennai every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, which connect more passengers to this vibrant city in South India.

Chennai is a cultural hub and thriving metropolitan city, which is situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.

Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu and is widely acknowledged as the epicentre of Tamil culture and heritage in India. The city’s booming economy has given rise to a variety of industries ranging from textiles to hardware manufacturing and today its stands as one of the largest commercial centres in South India

The city has been a place where artists have been able to thrive and offers travellers a glimpse into age-old arts including classical dance, music, sculpture and crafts.

Travellers can visit a Bharatanatyam dance school during their stay and learn this unique and traditional dance form which is often featured in Bollywood and Tamil films.

The city’s architecture showcases a blend of traditional ethnic structures from the Dravidian civilization, and also features remnants of the city’s colonial past.

Chennai is believed to be up to 400 years old, it was first colonized by the Portuguese and then the Dutch. Finally the British established it as a leading urban location and naval base.

An economic hotspot: Chennai’s economy is built on the automobile sector, software services, hardware manufacturing, textiles, healthcare and financial services. Chennai has been dubbed ‘the Detroit of South Asia’ due to its strong automobile manufacturing industry. Due to its continued growth and development, the city remains a commercial hub and economic hotspot in the region.(niz)

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Oman Air goes double daily from Colombo to Muscat


Oman Air Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager Gihan Karunaratne

Oman Air will start double daily flight operations from Colombo to Muscat from 28 October onwards. The national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman will now offer a total of 14 flights per week and two flights per day between the two countries.  Oman Air’s daily morning flight will depart from Colombo at 8:45 a.m. and the evening flight will leave at 17:45 p.m., with the exception of the Wednesday evening flight, which will depart at 20:30 p.m. Commenting on Oman Air’s increased flight frequency, Oman Air Chief Officer Sales Mahfood Ali Saleem Al Harthy stated: “We are delighted to increase flights between Colombo and Muscat. Increasing our flight frequency to Muscat is part of our long-term plan to drive strategic growth and expansion in the region. We have seen an immense demand for flights between both destinations and by adding an additional four flights to our weekly schedule, we hope to strengthen the Colombo-Muscat route and solidify its position as a significant route in our global network.”

In 2009, Oman Air commenced its operations in Sri Lanka and by 2011, the airline was offering five flights per week to Muscat in Oman. In 2012, the airline commenced daily flights and increased its frequency to 10 flights per week. In 2014, the load factor was at 76% and Oman Air has maintained its passenger load factor and currently operates flights at an average of 74%.  Commenting on Oman Air’s continued growth, Oman Air Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager Gihan Karunaratne stated: “Oman Air has achieved significant growth in a relatively short period of time and we hope that  by operating two daily flights to Muscat, we’ll be able to meet the growing demand for flights to Oman, the Middle East and Europe. With this increased flight frequency, Oman Air will also contribute towards the growth of the local tourism industryby bringing more people from around the world to Sri Lanka.”
Oman Air recently introduced its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its fleet. The all-new commercial aircraft offers passengers the ultimate big-jet experience and increased speeds of travel. The new aircraft is renowned for its superior efficiency and will open up access to new direct routes, whilst offerings passengers exceptional comfort. As part of its global expansion, Oman Air also recently launched three strategic new routes in the Asian region and now offers direct flights from Muscat to Singapore, Goa and Dhaka.

Since Oman Air commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 2009, the airline has experienced momentous growth and constantly provides its passengers with added value through promotions and special offers.  Oman Air is renowned for offering a world-class service and has an ongoing commitment to delivering quality, comfort and a seamless passenger experience. This has resulted in the airline receiving significant international recognition and high acclaim at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

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Air China to Start Beijing-Colombo Service

Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital and political, economic, cultural and transportation center. Taking a leisurely stroll through the streets of the South Asian coastal city imbued with exotic charms is truly a rewarding experience – flowers are in bloom, coconut trees sway gently in the breeze, fishermen are on stilts, sandy beaches extend, Buddhist pagodas and temples are dotted around, kind and friendly locals make you feel welcome, and aromas of spices waft into the nostrils. Hop onto a century-old train for the world’s most beautiful train ride through green tea hills and along the blue sea; onboard, sip on a cup of fragrant Ceylon red tea and take in the breathtaking views along the way, and you will feel you are in a fairytale world.

Currently, China has become Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner and source of imports as well as its fastest growing source of travelers. Statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau suggest that about 12,000 Chinese travelers visited Sri Lanka in May, up 71.9% year on year. The forthcoming BeijingColombo service will open up more travel opportunities for business and leisure travelers from the northern and northeastern parts of China.

Friendship and trading between China and Sri Lanka have been taking place for centuries. Zhe He, the Ming dynasty’s legendary sea navigator, paid repeated visits to Sri Lanka on his epic seafaring voyages to the seas in the west. Now, Sri Lanka is an important part of the “21st Century Silk Road on the Sea” on the Indian Ocean.

The timely opening of the Beijing-Colombo service will become an air bridge linking the two nations and contributing to their development in the fields of economy, trading, investment and tourism. Meanwhile, the new route is also one of Air China’s mostimportant moves in 2015 to cement its global presence with its hub in Beijing and expand its route network serving South and Southeast Asia.

The carrier will also start other new routes to destinations in the Asia Pacific region including BeijingMumbai, BeijingIslamabadKarachi and BeijingKuala Lumpur. These new routes will bring the number of destinations in the Asia Pacific region that the carrier serves up to 19, offering more travel options and benefits to business and leisure passengers traveling between Beijing and other cities in the Asia Pacific region.

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Tourism Minister meets Chinese, Korean envoys


Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga met with the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang and Chang Won-sam, the Ambassador for South Korea in Sri Lanka, to discuss new opportunities for Sri Lanka Tourism in the Chinese and South Korean markets. Chairman Paddy Vithana, Malraja Kiriella and Dinesh Weerakkody participated in the discussion with the Tourism Minister at the Ministry of Tourism last week.

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Another tea factory hotel in SL

 Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC is planning to open its 2-star, 60 room property in two years – transforming an old tea factory to a hotel, officials said. This would be the second tea factory hotel after the Aitken Spence Tea Factory hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

“It will build on a defunct tea factory ( which hasn’t been in operation for the past 20 years) and will have 60 rooms. This will be mainly targeting budget travellers. We are investing some Rs. 350 million on this property,” an official told the Business Times, adding that Ashkey de Vos is the project architect. He said the tea industry is facing stiff competition with soaring manufacturing costs and that they needed to diversify.

Malwatte Valley Plantations also owns and operate the Talduwa Manor resort in Dehiowita, Avissawella, a 12 roomed colonial bungalow built in 1920. “We have invested nearly US$ 450,000 in Melbourne to build four town housing units as a pilot project some years ago,” he said, mentioning this to be their first foray into the real estate sector. “We also hope to build a similar hotel targeting budget travellers in Passikudah,” he said.

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Kuwait Airways launches new A330 operations from Sri Lanka

 Kuwait Airways, the national carrier of the State of Kuwait, launched its new A330 operation from Sri Lanka.
The airline, which started its service in 1953, has completed 62 years of excellence in providing air services. Kuwait Airways, which was an early entrant to the Sri Lanka market, has been providing air services from 1972. The launch of new A330 from Colombo onwards will provide an enhanced experience to passengers, guarantee luxury and comfort during their journey.

The new aircraft will also be operated to the European sectors such as London, Rome and Paris. With this latest addition, Kuwait Airways has introduced special fares for Front Cabin passengers.

Incorporating all of the benefits, the A330-300 offers passengers the quietest twin-engine cabin flying today. Airbus’ commitment to continuous improvement has further enhanced the environment with the use of LED lighting technology for reading lights, passenger information signs, cabin signs and ambient lighting. Other cabin improvements such as free WIFI and mood lighting to updated interior styling – all of which provide an even brighter, lighter and more spacious environment in all classes of service.

Kuwait Airways will be operating a younger fleet of aircraft in future to cater to its customer with comfort while enduring their journey. As per the fleet modernization programme, with this new addition, the number of aircraft has now reached nine aircraft, seven A320 and the newest three A330—widebodied, used mostly for long-haul destinations.

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