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BEIJING - Sri Lankan Airlines will expand its services to Beijing and Shanghai, with daily flights to the two cities running from July 15, to serve the increasing number of Chinese travelers to Colombo, Male, Bangkok and other points on its global network.
The additions will take the airline to 21 flights per week to four cities in China, including four to Guangzhou and three to Hong Kong.
Nishantha Wickremasinghe, chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines, said, "Sri Lankan Airlines has made a strong and consistent effort in recent years to enhance services between the historically friendly nations of China and Sri Lanka. We are pleased to see the level of growth in business up to now.
"We believe there is a tremendous amount of potential for the future, hence our decision to have daily frequencies to Beijing and Shanghai."
The airline launched services to Guangzhou in 2011 and Shanghai in 2010, having served Beijing since 2005. It has served Hong Kong for over 30 years.
Dimuthu Tennakoon, regional manager for the Asia Pacific, added, "The new daily frequencies will further enhance our services for Chinese tourists to Bangkok, Colombo and Male, which are the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers to Sri Lanka.
"We also have excellent connections to our destinations in Europe and the Middle East, which offer convenience for travelers from those regions to visit China and vice versa."
The number of Chinese travelers to Sri Lanka increased by 56 percent in 2011 to a total of more than 16,000. Relations between the two countries have been strengthened by an increasing Chinese investment in Sri Lanka, together with expanded trade in consumer goods.
The island country welcomed an all-time record of 855,975 travelers in 2011. Its government has set a target of 2.5 million tourists per annum from the year 2016.
The new flights to Shanghai will operate on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, in addition to the four existing flights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.