An Emirates A380 aircraft landed at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Katunayake yesterday, the first A380 commercial flight to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s minister of transport & aviation Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva M.P. was at the airport to welcome H.E. Abdul Hameed Abdul Fattah Kazhim Al-Mulla, UAE Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Emirates’ senior vice president commercial (West Asia & Indian Ocean) Ahmed Khoory.
The one-off A380 flight operated as EK654 from Dubai, replacing the B777 aircraft usually deployed by Emirates on flights to Sri Lanka, to announce BIA’s recently resurfaced and upgraded runway. The aircraft was on ground for more than six hours to enable airport executives, VIPs, trade partners and media to enjoy guided static tours of its cabins and amenities such as the first class suites, shower spas and the lounge.
Khoory said: “This one-off flight reflects the strong relationship we have with the market and our commitment to the destination. It signifies that, when demand for the destination grows, as it definitely will, to the point that scheduled A380 flights are feasible, Emirates will be ready to operate one.
“For the BIA, this event signals that it is ‘A380 ready’. Given the Sri Lanka government’s focus on developing tourism, this is an important development.