While many airlines pare back their long-haul offerings in response to recessionary pressures and fuel costs, Korean Air is spreading its wings with a new route to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is undergoing something of a renaissance since the government wiped out the country’s Tamil rebellion in 2009 after a quarter of a century of protracted conflict. And Korean is not the only airline to cash in on the changed security environment. British Airways is resuming its flight from London Gatwick on March 31 after a 25-year hiatus.
On arriving in Colombo, the plane will pause to refuel before continuing on to the Maldives, a destination visited by some 30,000 Koreans each year. By contrast, Sri Lanka stamps only 6,000 Korean passports every twelve months, a figure that looks set to change markedly with the advent of this new service.
The inaugural take-off of the thrice-weekly flight will depart Seoul Incheon airport on March 9 using the carrier’s A330-300 aircraft. The aircraft has capacity for 276 passengers.
Flight KE473 will depart Incheon at 10:40 p.m. to land in Colombo at 4.10 a.m. it will then depart the Sri Lankan capital an hour later to land in the Maldives at 6.20 a.m..
Return flight KE474 will depart the Maldives at 3.45 p.m. to arrive in Sri Lanka at 5.45. p.m.. It will depart Colombo at 7.15 p.m. to arrive back in Korea at 7.15 p.m..