Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sri Lankan state-owned LCC eyes India as potential first stop

Mumbai: Sri Lanka's first state-owned carrier, Mihin Air may become the first Asian Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) to fly to India as the only other LCC (Jet Star Asia pulled out flights middle of last year). The move to launch Sri Lanka's first LCC, Mihin Air at a total cost of Rs 1.5 billion with the initial working capital at Rs 500 million has come in for serious discussion among travel circles. Interestingly, the official monopoly that Indian, Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express enjoyed thanks to an aviation policy that prevented any other domestic carrier to operate frequencies to the region may now come under threat if Mihin Air were to use the hub and spoke approach to ferry the huge South Indian labour force to Colombo and onward to the Middle East at lower prices. The pre-emption of that competition may well affect the current liberal approach that the Indian government hitherto has towards Sri Lanka, chiefly its national carrier. According to well placed sources, Mihin Air which has been cleared for a launch later this year, will in all probability fly to key points within India.
17/02/07 Bhisham Mansukhani/Express TravelWorld