flydubai, Dubai’s innovative airline, today made a special touch down at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, also known as Hambantota International Airport, as part of the official opening day celebrations.
flydubai’s Chief Commercial Officer, Hamad Obaidalla, headed the delegation on the same day the carrier announced it will start a three-times a week service to Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport from 21 May 2013. Today’s celebratory flight landed at 1220hrs to a ceremonial water cannon salute before Obaidalla was met by senior aviation authority and other government officials.
Commenting on the occasion, Obaidalla, said: “We are grateful to the authorities for their continued support and for giving flydubai the opportunity to serve the Sri Lankan market. We launched flights to Colombo in July 2010 with a four-times weekly service. Following increased demand this rose to five times a week two months later, before daily operations began in March 2012. We are delighted to start operations to the new Mattala Airport, which will help to increase the accessibility and drive the development of the Eastern and Southern coasts.”
Through this second route to the island, flydubai continues to further support the Sri Lanka Government’s efforts to bring in 2.5 million visitors a year by 2016. The airline carried 104,000 passengers in 2012, recording a remarkable 67% year-on-year growth.
To better accommodate the surge in passenger traffic to Sri Lanka especially from Central & Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), flydubai has focused on improving connection times in Dubai. Its new, more convenient schedule led to a 911% increase in the number of passengers connecting from 34 weekly flights to Colombo to date.
“We are always exploring new opportunities to connect Dubai to other destinations within our network. Through this new route, those seeking leisure breaks from Central & Eastern Europe and the CIS will be able to take advantage of the affordable, high quality service for onward travel to Sri Lanka via one stop in Dubai aviation’s hub,” added Obaidalla.
flydubai has the most comprehensive network to the CIS and Central & Eastern Europe of any other Middle Eastern carrier, connecting Colombo, and once in operation Hambantota, to 15 destinations in 10 countries in the regions.
Flights to Hambantota will operate three-times a week from 21 May 2013. FZ551 departs Dubai Terminal 2 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2250hrs, landing in Mattala International Airport at 0635hrs local time following a stop in Colombo at 0555hrs.
The return flight, FZ552, direct to Dubai departs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0730hrs, arriving in Dubai at 1050hrs local time.
Return fares from Dubai to Hambantota start at AED 995 with return fares from Hambantota to Dubai starting at LKR 31,365.
Fares include one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 7kg and one small laptop bag or hand bag. Checked baggage starts at AED 50 ($14) for 20kgs. A seat with extra legroom costs AED100 ($28) extra.
Flights between Dubai and Hambantota can be purchased from flydubai’s website (www.flydubai.com), its call centre (+971 4231 1000) or through travel partners.