Kuwait Airways Corporation stopped flying to Sri Lanka this week, in the midst of the “dollar crisis” and airlines’ reluctance to increase flights, as local offices are said to have declined to settle dues. Therefore, Kuwait Airways ended its operations last September, which was only one flight per week, without giving official reasons.
Al-Jarida quoting reliable sources said “the airline’s revenues were very low, compared to the operating costs of the flight to Sri Lanka.” The decision not to fly is expected to continue for a long time and will mostly affect the movement of migrant workers, as thousands of Sri Lankans use “Kuwaitia” to travel to work in West Asia and the Gulf states. And according to the Sunday Times, there are indications that another airline is now re-evaluating its options. Meanwhile, sources warned that general sales agents and local airline offices did not pay their dues in dollars, a problem that persisted for about 4 or 5 months.
In the case of Kuwait Airways, there were also concerns about the rising costs of landing in Sri Lanka, which are among the highest in the region. However, there was no shortage of passengers for the airline, which offered some of the cheapest fares westbound from Colombo.
Meanwhile, the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) has written to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) highlighting several issues affecting the industry. Discussions have been underway with the authorities for weeks about the difficulties in securing foreign exchange.
Problems in the aviation industry will seriously affect the recovery of tourism in Sri Lanka, especially since tourism is one of the most important sectors on which the government depends heavily for revenue in dollars.
It is worth noting that the companies currently operating in Sri Lanka are the Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Air India, Gulf Air, Russian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabia, Air Arabia, Oman Airlines, Air Asia, Air France, Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Indigo, Aeroflot, Chinese, and others.