Air Arabia set to launch second Sri Lanka route

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UAE-based low cost carrier Air Arabia said on Saturday that it will add a second destination in Sri Lanka later this month.

The airline said it will launch non-stop flights to Mattala on March 18, making it Air Arabia's 84th route worldwide.

The carrier will operate two weekly services between Sharjah and Mattala, to be increased to four times weekly starting May 19, a statement said.

Adel Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia, said: "Today's announcement is a continuation of Air Arabia 's longstanding commitment to expand our presence in the Indian Subcontinent.

"Just a few months after our inception in 2003, we launched a direct service to Colombo, which was our first destination in the Subcontinent, and we are delighted to now add a second route to the country.

"Our new service to Mattala is in direct response to passenger demand, and while contribute to the trade and tourism ties between UAE and Sri Lanka."

The launch of services to Mattala will complement Air Arabia's existing nine weekly flights from Sharjah to Colombo.

The airline currently offers daily flights to the capital city, and twice daily on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Last month, Air Arabia said that its passenger numbers in January represented the highest monthly total since it began operations.

The Sharjah-based airline said it lifted a total of 492,847 passengers in the month, an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to a year earlier.

The airline's seat load factor - passengers as a percentage of total seats available - stood at 82.5 percent, it added.

Air Arabia said it witnessed a steady increase in passenger numbers in 2012. Last year, the low-cost pioneer carried 5.3 million passengers, an increase of over 13 percent compared to 2011.

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