July 10, 2008

SriLankan Airlines Extends Its Own Ground Handling Operations to India

SriLankan Airlines now does its own ground handling at four airports in India, which significantly increases the visibility of the airline's branding in India.

The familiar colours and logo of Sri Lanka's National Carrier are now regular features on vehicles and ground service equipment at airports in Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, and Goa.

SriLankan Airlines' Chief Executive Officer, Manoj Gunawardena, said: "Benefits from this initiative are two fold, it increases our level of customer service and it also brings in significant cost savings to the operation. It is an excellent example of how significant quality and cost benefits can be achieved by challenging the established practices."

SriLankan, which last November became the first foreign carrier to operate 100 flights per week to India, has 33 flights to these four destinations 15 to Chennai, 11 to Trichy, four to Coimbatore, and three to Goa. Chennai is one of SriLankan's busiest destinations in the airline's route network.

Nalini Fernando, who as Regional Airport Service Manager- India spearheaded the project, said: "Our decision to self-handle at selected Indian airports was undertaken towards reducing heavy operational costs & branding of SriLankan at Indian airports in a highly competitive market. Airport Service staff in SriLankan uniforms attend to every aspect of airport service duties, offering personalised service to our customers, unlike in a handling Agent environment.This project has also resulted in significant savings on every flight to each of these 04 destinations.

Ajith Fernando, Manager Airport Service Support, said: "Our service levels and punctuality have greatly improved at these four stations. We are doing everything over the wing and under the wing. That includes passenger, cargo and baggage handling (loading/ unloading) including security handling, cabin cleaning, aircraft pushback, etc."

About SriLankan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines is expanding its Middle East operations, most recently adding two weekly services to Jeddah to its network starting March 27. The airline also increased its frequencies into Qatar and Bahrain recently, taking the airlines total frequencies into the Middle East to 45 flights a week. The airline has also recently opened up new routes into Asia adding a third weekly service to Goa and launching double daily services to Mumbai earlier this year. The growing number of services to India takes SriLankan Airlines closer to the 100 flights a week mark, and reinforces its position as the foreign carrier with the most number of frequencies into ten key cities across India. 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

Originally published by By Al-Bawaba Reporters.

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