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40 REGION ASIA Air India

40 REGION ASIA Air India Announces New Routes to Europe Star Alliance membership gives new strength to company in Europe with new flights from Delhi to Birmingham and Vienna Ajith Dias Chairman, Sri Lankan Airlines Targeting 100% Growth by 2020 It has now been two and a half years since Air India joined Star Alliance. And according to Pankaj Kumar, Executive Director, Sales and Marketing for India’s national carrier in Delhi, it has largely benefited the airline. “We had first to increase our service and all the procedures to comply to Star Alliance’s very high standards. We reviewed all of our fields of activities, from the integration of domestic carrier Indian Airlines, the improvement of our hub connectivity in Delhi and also our service on board”, he explains. “By belonging to the world’s largest air alliance, we now offer to our passengers an extensive global network of destinations and offer a premium experience in hundreds of destinations”, he adds. Connectivity in Delhi has been revised and improved. “We offer the largest number of domestic connections with a network of some 65 Indian cities which have gained access to our international network of 35 destinations. We propose 100 Pankaj Kumar Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Star Alliance to 120 flights a day and transfer now on average up to 7,000 passengers a day in Delhi”, adds Pankaj Kumar. Air India is in fact adding more destinations worldwide. “We now fly to London, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, Birmingham AIR INDIA IS BENEFITING GREATLY OF ITS MEMBERSHIP WITH STAR ALLIANCE and Vienna being our latest destinations. They are all served with our newest aircraft the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We open on April 1st our new Vienna-Delhi route with three weekly frequencies. Austrian passengers will then benefit of easy connections to the rest of India as well as Southeast Asia and Australia”, says Pankaj Kumar. In Europe, the Indian carrier sees potential in Scandinavia and Spain. Hall 5.2B / Stand 205 Sri Lankan Airlines upbeat about the growth of tourism to the island nation Sri Lankan Airlines wants to double its passenger traffic until 2020 on par with the growth of tourism in Sri Lanka according to the airline’s chairman Ajith Dias. Sri Lanka received last year 1.8 million international visitors and forecasts for the country of welcoming four million tourists by 2020 is giving new impetus to Sri Lankan Airlines. ‘We transport 40% of all the tourists coming into our country while we represent 55% of all the traffic at Colombo International Airport”, explains Ajith Dias, Chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines. The carrier this year will receive seven new Airbus A330-300’s, which will be deployed on the airline’s European routes as well as to Southeast Asia and China. “We have a very strong position in Europe, as we are the only carrier offering non-stop flights from London, Paris CDG and Frankfurt to Colombo. We offer strong connections to South India as well as to the Maldives. With five flights a day to Malé, we are a premium partner of European tour operators programming Maldives”, adds Dias. Sri Lankan will however be dropping its Rome-Colombo service – which will be rerouted via Doha with Qatar Airways or Abu Dhabi via Etihad. At the same WE ARE THE ONLY CARRIER OFFERING NON- STOP FLIGHTS FROM LONDON, PARIS CDG AND FRANKFURT TO COLOMBO time, Sri Lankan will increase its frequencies to Frankfurt with five weekly services this summer instead of four. In Asia, the airline is finalising its plans to open a new route from Colombo to Yangon in Myanmar. The service is due to start before the end of the year and will be served by Sri Lankan subsidiary Mihin Lanka. Another future improvement will be the construction of a new terminal at Colombo International Airport. Funded by Japanese, the new facility will provide a world class experience to travellers with construction slated for a start later this year. Hall 5.2A / Stand 108 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 10 th March 2016

ASIA REGION 41 NEW AT ITB: ASIA’S LARGEST AIRLINE Halong Bay © Allen Zhao Ho Chi Minh City Skyline China Southern is proudly presenting its products for the first time this year at ITB in Berlin. With more than 110 million passengers carried in 2015, IATA ranked the Chinese airline first in China, first in Asia and third in the world (Passenger results 2015). Further fleet- and route-expansion plans will keep up the continuous growth. By the end of 2015, the airline operated 667 aircraft - mainly Boeing and Airbus (including A380 and new 787 aircraft) – on 2,000 daily flights, serving 195 destinations in more than 40 countries and regions worldwide. In 2016, new routes will further grow the worldwide network of China Southern Airlines on long haul routes and to regional destinations. New services to Toronto, Canada and to Phu Quoc Island and Da Nang in Vietnam are scheduled for this year. In addition to new routes, China Southern Airlines will further grow the capacity on existing routes, such as the daily Amsterdam-Beijing flights, which will be operated by Airbus A380 effective June 2016. Hall 26A / Stand 113 VNTA Works to Ease Entry for Foreign Travellers Vietnam tourism benefits from relaxed visa regulations According to officials of Vietnam’s National Tourism Authority, the government may soon be going even further in its attempts to ease visa requirements for foreign travellers. A drop of 11.3% of almost all inbound markets to Vietnam between January and June prompted Vietnam’s Prime Minister to change the visa regime for foreign travellers. Overnight, visa requirements were lifted for five of Vietnam’s most important source markets. Since July 1st, 2015, citizens from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are effectively allowed to stay in the country up to 14 days with a simple visa on arrival. The measure had an immediate effect. Tourist arrivals started to recover from July. In September, total arrivals were down by “only” 5.9% before to finish the year with a modest plus of 0.9%. Total international arrivals last year reached 7,943,651. Except for France – which continues to suffer from economic difficulties with arrivals down by 1%- all the countries benefiting from the visa exemption showed healthy growth rates. Tourists from the UK and Germany grew on average by 5% in 2015 while Italy and Spain outbound markets progressed by over 10%. According to VNAT officials, more countries could soon benefit from visa-on-arrival procedures such as Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as potentially Australia, the United States and Canada. Vietnam’s association of travel agencies is also pleading the case of having the visa extended to a 30-day stay, which would help to retain travellers for a longer time. More than ever, Vietnam seems embracing the idea of fully opening up to tourism! VIETNAM AIRLINES, A SENSE OF PRIDE THANKS TO NEW AIRBUS A350 AND BOEING 787 Being a launch carrier for a new aircraft in Asia was a premiere for Vietnam’s national airline. Since July 2015, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 and has been Asia’s first customer to put in service the Airbus A350-900. The Boeing 787-9 is now flying to Frankfurt and London Heathrow out of Ho Chi Minh City while the Airbus A350 has been deployed to Paris from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The arrival of new aircraft was accompanied by many innovations for in-flight service. A new business class with sleeper seats and a new entertainment system was unveiled while a new premium eco has been added on all intercontinental flights. Improved menus and an expanded network helped Vietnam Airlines to attract new customers. In 2015, Vietnam Airlines recorded 17.4 million passengers, an increase of 4.8% over 2014 while the average load factor reached 80.7%, up by 2.2 points. The airline expects to transport 19.2 million passengers this year, up by more than 10.5% over 2015. Hall 26C / Stand 311 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 10 th March 2016

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