Emirates has increased its services to west Asia to satisfy an expected rise in demand, the airline has announced.
The Dubai carrier has added four flights to Columbo and five to Malé, extending its services to Sri Lanka and the Maldives to 18 and 14 weekly flights respectively. It expects interest in the service to increase this year, especially during the winter season.
Flights from Dubai to Malé and then Colombo to Dubai will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. An A330 in a three-class configuration of 12 first, 42 business and 183 economy seats will be deployed on the route.
The Dubai airline has also introduced a direct route between the emirate and Columbo, and another two connections from Dubai to Malé every Wednesday and Friday. These services will be carried out using Boeing 777s with 12 first, 42 business and 310 economy seats.
"The introduction of over 1,800 seats (per week per direction) on the two routes will be welcomed by business, leisure and student travellers," said Majid Al Mualla, Emirates vice president of commercial operations for West Asia and the Indian Ocean.
"There are expectations that tourist traffic into Sri Lanka will improve during the winter season of 2009. In line with this expectation local authorities are already considering improvements in the tourism infrastructure.
"By introducing additional services and promoting these across our robust international network, Emirates is supporting the local government's campaign to revive Sri Lanka's tourism industry."
On the Maldives flights, Al Mualla said: "Our extra flights will grow the tourism potential of Maldives, a popular getaway for leisure travellers from Europe and the Middle East.
"Furthermore, the resumption of services between Malé and Colombo will encourage inbound tourists to opt for a two-destination holiday. It will also benefit Maldivians visiting Sri Lanka for medical treatment, cultural tourism, education and shopping."