Lankan owned Peace Air to take wings on Feb. 4

Creating aviation history, Sri Lanka’s first privately owned airline, Peace Air is scheduled to be airborne from February 4 (Independence Day), Chairman Peace Air Pvt Ltd, Gamini H. Wethasinghe told ‘Daily News Business’.

“Peace Air will be operating daily direct flights to five new destinations in China, starting from Wuhan under the first phase of our operations.” The other four destinations that would be included to the schedule are Xi, An Urumqi, Chongqing and Hardin. “We have also tied up with a leading Chinese travel agency to market these routes and they have guaranteed us of an 80% load factor and large volumes of Cargo.”

From March Peace air plans to operate flights to Indonesia targeting the Umrah (Muslim Religious traffic) and then to Saudi Arabia targeting Haj passengers. “This too would be a daily flight.”

Weththasinghe said that they will initially take delivery of a new 747 aircraft for the Chinese sector which would be a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which could accommodate 265 passengers. This would be followed up by a Boeing Deamliner 787-10 that could accommodate 330 passengers.

The new airline has already placed order for these two brand new 747 aircraft with Boeing and will also look at buying eight other aircraft.

He said that they will initially obtain US$ 2 billion investment from US and Chinese investors for this operation.

Peace Air will also deploy a 15 member US crew including pilots for a period of six month and they will be gradually phased out replacing them with Sri Lanka crew who are working overseas. “We will use SriLankan Catering,” he said

He ruled out operating flights to Mattala and said the Hambantota airport would come under their radar when they look at operating flights to Indian destinations towards mid next year.

Peace Air will also open their passenger sales office in December at Green Lanka Building, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02. “We also hope to offer commissions for airline travel agents in Sri Lanka,” he added.

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