COLOMBO — China national passenger airline, Air China will start direct service between Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China’s Sichuan province, and the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo from February, 2015, the airline announced on Dec 29.
The Chengdu-Colombo service beginning February 10 next year will operate four weekly flights using Airbus A330 aircraft.
The four flights will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays with one-way trip taking five and a half hours, the airline said in a statement.
“This is the first service from Chengdu to a Sri Lankan city, marking an important step towards the construction of the flag carrier’s Chengdu hub,” it added.
Chengdu, a commercial hub in southwest China, currently has 241 routes, including 78 international routes, linking the city with 187 cities worldwide.
Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka have increased significantly over the past two years with over 100,000 arrivals so far.
The island’s tourism industry has been booming since the end of a three decade war in 2009 with 1.3 million arrivals expected by the end of 2014 and nearly $2 billion in revenue.
Sri Lanka’s government has set a target of attracting 2.5 million tourists by 2016.