SriLankan Airlines is launching dedicated cargo services to several destinations in Europe, Middle and Far East and the Indian Subcontinent in a bid to rescue the country’s COVID-19 hit export industries, the Airline said in a  press release today.

SriLankan will commence 27 dedicated cargo flights per week out of Colombo that will connect Sri Lanka with major cities in Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Far East. Destinations include London and Frankfurt in Europe; the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (Canton); Melbourne in Australia; Singapore and Tokyo (Narita) in the Far East; Doha and Dubai in the Middle East; and in South Asia the Maldivian capital Male, the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and several cities in India where SriLankan has for many years been the largest foreign carrier.

These dedicated cargo flights will be a vital link for local exporters to take their produce to new and existing international markets and will also enable the import of much needed raw materials required to produce export goods. This includes the apparel industry, which has long been one of the cornerstones of the nation’s economy, the press release said.

The Arline's existing fleet of Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft will be utilized for these flights and SriLankan has enhanced the cargo carrying capacity of the aircraft beyond the usual capacity of the cargo holds

Chairman of SriLankan Airlines  Ashok Pathirage said the Airline has always considered the nation’s interests foremost in every crisis situation during the past 40 years and are keenly aware of its duty to support the Government and the nation as a whole, even at a time when the  Company itself is facing a difficult situation.

“We have no doubt that every single export industry will benefit from this bold initiative that we plan to launch on May 18th, at a time when most other airlines are keeping their fleets grounded and global trade by air is under a lockdown situation. The Government is extremely keen on restarting the country’s export industries at the earliest possible moment, and we at SriLankan Airlines have been intent on restarting our services from the day that we reluctantly suspended regular operations in the face of the global pandemic,”  Pathirage said.

SriLankan Airlines is also the sole handler of all ground services at the country’s international airports, including cargo.

It has a state-of-the-art cargo warehousing complex at Bandaranaike International Airport that handles all types of cargo, ranging from raw materials, dangerous goods, courier items, mail, live cargo, and valuable cargo. Sri Lanka’s award-winning carrier is a member of the one world global airline alliance.