SriLankan Airlines to resume previously underperforming flights to Moscow

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SriLankan Airlines seeks to resume air connection between Sri Lanka and Russia by resuming operations from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME). The airline announced it will restart the flights between the two cities from July 31, 2021.

“The resumption of services connecting Colombo and Moscow is a link that will not only facilitate travel but will be the impetus for building closer bilateral business connections between the two countries,” SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage was quoted in the airline’s statement.

The recent news regarding the upcoming flight resumption to the capital of Russia comes after a break of 6 years. The airline used to fly to the destination until 2015 when it ceased the route due to reported underperformance at the time. The company now intends to rebuild the previous connectivity gradually while hoping that the Colombo-Moscow route becomes profitable. 

“We believe flying back to Moscow would create a window of opportunity for both countries and travelers to experience the historic heritage of the people of Sri Lanka and Russia,” Pathirage said.

The flag carrier plans to offer regular once-weekly service every Friday at 10.30 p.m. local time (UTC+5.30) with its Airbus A330-300 aircraft configured to carry 269 passengers in Economy and 28 travelers in Business Class seats. The company currently operates 6 A330-300 jets with a single plane in storage, data shows.

The overnight flight UL533, which is supposed to take more than 8 hours, should regularly land at Domodedovo Airport (DME) in Moscow at 04.30 a.m. local time (UTC+3).

“This is a significant air link for Sri Lankan Airlines as we connect to the largest country in the world. […] This operation would offer a new and easy travel path in connecting the Russian Federation and surrounding countries,” Vipula Gunatilleka, the CEO of the company, revealed.

Before the pandemic, Sri Lankan Airlines used to operate to 20 countries and 37 destinations. However, in 2020 it decided to trim the list of long-haul routes due to massive border closures carried out to control the spread of COVID-19 cases in the country. 

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