19 March 2013
Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, touched down at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Sri Lanka. The inaugural flight which landed at 11:50 am becomes the first ever international carrier to arrive in the Mattala airport.
The maiden flight was marked by an official Air Arabia delegation and was welcomed by high-level dignitaries including His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Air Arabia also celebrated the occasion of first international arrival in Mattala, after the new Rajapaksa International Airport was inaugurated this morning.
“Since inception about a decade ago, Air Arabia has prided itself on being an airline of firsts. Today, we are extremely delighted to become the first international carrier to arrive in Mattala, further reinforcing our commitment to expand our presence in Sri Lanka,” said, Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia.
“We target through our new regular service to develop the tourism traffic between Mattala, the UAE and the wider region. We are confident that the launch of Mattala will bring great benefits to the tourism ties between the UAE and Sri Lanka, and will support Air Arabia’s rapidly expanding network in the Indian Subcontinent.”
The low-cost pioneer currently operates two weekly services between Sharjah and Mattala, to be increased to four times weekly starting May 19, 2013. On Thursdays and Sundays, flights depart from Sharjah International Airport at 21:30 and arrives Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport at 03:50. Return flights on the will depart next day from Mattala at 04:30 and arrive in Sharjah at 07:40 (local time).
Aimed at meeting the increasing travel demands between the two countries, the launch of Mattala marks Air Arabia’s second route in Sri Lanka after Colombo, which is currently being operated seven times a week.