Sri Lanka’s national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines commenced scheduled flights from Lankan capital Colombo to Gan International Airport in Addu atoll on Thursday.
Sri Lankan Airlines’ inaugural flight to Gan landed at 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning.
A special ceremony was held in Gan International Airport’s VIP lounge to celebrate the airline’s official commencement of operations to Gan. Participating in the ceremony were top executives of Sri Lankan Airlines, the airline’s local agent Ace Aviation, members of Addu City Council, Deputy Minister of Tourism Hussain Lirar, lawmaker of Feydhoo Constituency Ibrahim Didi and the heads of various Addu offices.
Sri Lankan Airlines’ CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte declared that the launching of the Colombo-Gan route is a dream come true for the airline to expand its services, guaranteeing Sri Lankan Airlines will provide seamless services in its new sector as well.
He also expressed gratitude to Ace Aviation’s Managing Director Mohamed Firaq’s work to make the new venture a success.
Deputy Tourism Minister Hussain Lirar stated that Sri Lankan Airlines’ new Colombo-Gan route will be a major boost to the Maldives’ tourism, especially in the south of the archipelago.
The deputy minister further praised President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s government for the high priority given to the nation’s travel and tourism industry.
Meanwhile, the airport’s operator Addu International Airport Company (AIA)’s General Manager Ibthishama Ahmed Saeed highlighted the ongoing airport development projects, declaring that the airport faces a bright future with top quality services to be provided at the end of its development and expansion.
She also announced that the company is currently in talks with more international airlines to commence operations to Gan.
The first flight of Sri Lankan Airlines from Gan to Colombo scheduled to depart on Thursday has been fully booked. Passengers, including those from Addu as well as from nearby atolls, expressed joy over the new flight operations, saying it had been a long wait to be able to depart for Colombo from their own atoll.
Sri Lankan Airlines will operate four weekly flights between Colombo and Gan every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.
Return fares are sold at a rate of USD 342, though the rate had been slashed to USD 280 until Thursday.