BEIJING — Air China, one of the country’s leading carriers, is scheduled to start direct service between Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan province, and the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo in February, the airline said on Dec 3 in a statement.
An Airbus A330 will fly the Chengdu-Colombo route each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. A one-way journey between Chengdu and Colombo will take about five-and-a-half hours, Air China said.
Passenger flow between southwest China and Sri Lanka has grown quickly in recent years amid increasing trade and economic activity. China is now the third-largest trade partner for Sri Lanka, which opened a consulate in Chengdu in late 2009.
Meanwhile, more Chinese tourists are visiting the island country, known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean.
According to statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Board, the country had received a total of 106,800 Chinese tourists in the first ten months of this year, up 139 percent year on year.
Before the Chengdu announcement, Sri Lankan Airlines already operated flights to Colombo from four Chinese mainland cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.