More Chinese airlines planning flights to Colombo

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By Charumini de Silva in Kunming, China
Capitalising on the booming tourism industry, several more Chinese airlines are planning to start services to Colombo. “With growing interest in travel between the two countries and the number of tourists arrivals increasing at a significant pace, several airline companies have now expressed their interest in commencing flights between Colombo and Kunming,” the People’s Government of Yunnan Province Foreign Affairs Office Chief Counsel Jin Cheng said.

Tourist arrivals from China have increased by 70% to an all-time high of 182,110 in the first 10 months of this year. Estimates are that the full-year arrival figure would be around 200,000 or more. Kunming is the capital of the expansive Yunnan province, a hub for tourism and a key gateway for South and Southeast Asia.

Speaking to a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists, Cheng said China Eastern had already begun flights to Colombo from Kunming and a few other airline companies had expressed interest in commencing daily flights. “At the moment it is still at discussion level,” he added. Apart from China Eastern, Air China also operates flights to Colombo from Chengdu.

Kunming has organic overseas and domestic traffic flows but also great potential to be a hub for passengers going to Southeast Asia from either China or on long-haul sixth freedom flows Chinese carriers are increasingly targeting.  China Eastern, which has a base in Kunming and is the largest carrier there, is mounting an aggressive expansion plan after primarily focusing on its merger and enhanced position in Shanghai.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/500927/More-Chinese-airlines-planning-flights-to-Colombo#sthash.asIz6kyI.dpuf

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