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SriLankan Airlines axes Europe flights

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European carriers may compensate for route losses
In a reversal of an earlier decision to continue flights to Paris and Frankfurt, SriLankan Airlines has announced plans to suspend both routes this winter.
“The two destinations, Paris and Frankfurt, have been under evaluation for a while,” Ajith Dias, chairman of the national carrier, told TTG Asia. “The decision to pull out from both stations is not sudden. Deteriorating yields in both markets compelled the airline to take this decision.”
SriLankan Airlines will continue flying to London, its gateway to Europe and North America, Dias said. The carrier’s withdrawal from Germany, Sri Lanka’s fourth largest source market, had prompted some travellers to change carriers while others had cancelled their bookings, according to Devendra Senaratne, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators president.
Ahintha Amerasinghe, managing director at Worldlink Travels, foresees short-term fallout from SriLankan Airlines’ pull-out but expects a recovery in the long term, adding that KLM’s twice-weekly flights from October will cushion the impact. Industry sources say that Austrian Airlines, which began winter flights to Colombo last October, helped to boost the European market.
In the meantime, Dias said that restructuring plans are underway for SriLankan Airlines, which is struggling to recover from a $3.5 billion debt and is seeking a foreign partner to pull it out of the woods.
TTG Asia

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