SriLankan to Addu Atoll: 7 years of success!
In 2016, SriLankan Airlines took a bold step by launching flights from Sri Lanka to Gan International Airport in Addu Atoll and connecting Southern Atolls. Fast forward seven years, and the airline is not only celebrating its seventh anniversary but also showcasing a remarkable success story that has defied initial skepticism about the sustainability of such an operation. Despite challenges, SriLankan Airlines has not only endured but has thrived in its commitment to providing air connectivity to Southern Atolls of Maldives.
A Resilient Journey
The recent celebration of SriLankan Airlines’ seventh anniversary in Addu Atoll was marked with a sense of achievement and determination. The airline reassured its commitment to the route, signaling that the flights would continue, further solidifying its presence in the region. The event also served as an occasion to reflect on the remarkable journey over the past seven years, highlighting the airline’s resilience in the face of adversities.
Throughout its existence, SriLankan Airlines’ flights to Gan have faced challenges, with the most significant disruption being the suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even during this period, the airline managed to operate charter flights, demonstrating its adaptability and commitment to serving the region.
One of the key indicators of success for any airline operating in a tourist destination is the number of visitors it brings. SriLankan Airlines proudly shared statistics indicating that 41,400 tourists have flown directly to Gan through the airline over the past seven years. Notably, the majority of these flights were from the Chinese market, showcasing the airline’s global appeal.
While there was a decline in tourist arrivals, the airline reported a promising figure of 6,000 tourists arriving directly in the current year alone. This hints at a potential resurgence in tourism to Addu Atoll, and SriLankan Airlines sees this as a positive sign for the future.
Beyond passenger travel, SriLankan Airlines has played a crucial role in facilitating cargo transportation to Addu Atoll. Over the seven years of operation, the airline has imported a substantial amount of goods, totaling 424 tonnes from Colombo to Gan. The significance of this cannot be overstated, especially in terms of supporting local businesses and ensuring the availability of both perishable and general cargo.
Challenges and Cooperation
Mohamed Firaq, Managing Director of SriLankan’s GSA Ace Aviation in Maldives, acknowledged the challenges faced during the seven-year operation. He emphasized the need for cooperation from all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of flights to Addu Atoll.
Firaq also outlined ongoing efforts to address challenges and expand flight operations. Despite the reduction in weekly flights from four to two, SriLankan Airlines is actively collaborating with resorts in Addu and Southern Atolls to provide competitive prices. Firaq expressed openness to collaboration, stating that the airline is ready to work with resorts based on group size, numbers, and volume.
As SriLankan Airlines celebrates seven years of success in connecting Addu Atoll, the focus is not just on past achievements but on the promising future that lies ahead. The airline remains dedicated to overcoming challenges, expanding operations, and fostering collaboration to ensure the sustained success of this vital air route. In doing so, SriLankan Airlines continues to play a pivotal role in the economic and touristic development of Addu and Southern Atolls while providing valuable air connectivity to the region.