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Cathay Pacific resumes HK – Colombo flights

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Cathay Pacific, the award-winning Hong Kong-based airline, has announced the resumption of flights to and from Colombo beginning on 02 February, 2024.

After a hiatus of four years, Cathay Pacific is set to soar Sri Lankan skies once again, serving valued local customers and continuing its commitment to connect people across the globe, the airline said. Cathay Pacific is returning with its Airbus A330 aircraft offering three flights a week operating from Colombo, ensuring a comfortable and premium travel experience for all customers.

The aircraft is configured in a two-cabin-class layout with 293 seats, comprising 28 in Business class, and 265 in Economy.

The resumption marks the revival of a long-standing aviation partnership between Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. For both business and leisure travellers, the flights will serve as a gateway, offering exceptional connectivity via Hong Kong to the Chinese Mainland, North America, Northeast Asia, and the Southwest Pacific.

As Sri Lanka continues to welcome a growing number of leisure and business travellers, while recognising the diversity of Colombo’s travellers, Cathay Pacific is gearing up to embark on a new chapter of connectivity, convenience, and customer satisfaction.

Anand Yedery, Regional Head of Customer Travel and Lifestyle, South Asia, Middle East and Africa said “This is an important occasion as we announce the relaunch of flights from Colombo. Cathay Pacific’s return not only signifies our commitment to our customers, but also showcases the vital role Sri Lanka plays in our network.

“In the past few years, we have invested in our product and inflight experience, including the dining menu, entertainment and more. We are excited to have our customers experience these service enhancements, convenient connections to key destinations worldwide such as Melbourne and Toronto, and our intermodal air-to-sea ferry options for travel into the Greater Bay Area. We look forward to welcoming Sri Lankan travellers aboard our flights and delivering a journey that exceeds their expectations.”

In addition to passenger services, Cathay continues to play a significant role in the economy by supporting local industries and connecting them to the world through its air cargo services. Cathay Cargo’s expertise ensures vital goods reach their destinations swiftly and securely, re-enforcing its brand ethos – “We Know How”.

Customers can book their tickets on the Cathay Pacific website or through the airline’s travel partners.  Additionally, for travel before February, they can choose to fly with our interline partners via Bengaluru, India and onwards to their preferred destination.

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Dialog, Axiata Group & Bharti Airtel to merge operations in SL

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Dialog Axiata PLC, Axiata Group Berhad, and Bharti Airtel Limited have signed an agreement to merge their operations in Sri Lanka.

Dialog will acquire Airtel Lanka, with Bharti Airtel receiving ordinary voting shares in Dialog as part of the deal.

The deal has been approved by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL).
The statement issued in this regard is as follows :

Dialog Axiata PLC (“Dialog”), Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata”) and Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti Airtel”) (collectively “the Parties”), signed a Definitive Agreement to combine their operations in Sri Lanka. Under this agreement, Dialog will acquire 100% of the issued shares in Airtel Lanka, in consideration of which Dialog will issue to Bharti Airtel, ordinary voting shares which will amount to 10.355% of the total issued shares of Dialog by way of a share swap. The transaction is subject to the approval of Dialog’s shareholders and is pending the completion of specific conditions outlined in the Share Sale Agreement, including clearance from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and completion of other applicable legal, corporate and regulatory compliance procedures.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has granted its approval for the proposed merger, underscoring its vision to advance the adoption of telecommunications services across Sri Lanka.

This consolidation will enable the merged entity to garner economies of scale and reduce duplication of infrastructure, achieve synergies in technology and capital expenditure leading to enhanced high speed broadband connectivity, voice and value added services, cost savings and operational efficiencies.

Vivek Sood, Group CEO and Managing Director of Axiata Group Berhad said, “The merger between Dialog and Airtel Lanka is aligned to Axiata’s strategy of market consolidation and resilience. The merger will create value for the shareholders of Dialog Axiata PLC and Axiata Group through achievable synergies. We have the utmost respect for Airtel Lanka and its employees and look forward to working together as we integrate the two companies.”

Commenting, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO Telecommunications Business and Group Executive Director of Axiata, added “This merger brings together the strengths of two leading telco groups and bodes well for the Growth and Sustainability of Sri Lanka’s flagship Telecom Sector. We look forward to the new frontiers in Customer Experience and innovation the company will deliver to Sri Lankan Consumers and Enterprises.”

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO Bharti Airtel Limited Said, “We are happy to merge our Sri Lanka operations with Dialog. Given the scale and unique propositions they offer, we are certain that our customers will continue to enjoy cutting edge services on a seamless network.”

“It is a privilege to welcome the team at Airtel Lanka to the Dialog family and together we take a significant step forward in our commitment to delivering superior telecommunications services in Sri Lanka”, remarked Supun Weerasinghe, Director/Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC.

“The integration of Dialog and Airtel Lanka operations will unlock new opportunities for innovation and growth, and this will lead to benefit consumers.” Ashish Chandra, Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel Lanka (Private) Limited.

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WhatsApp makes it easier to find chats

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WhatsApp is making it easier to find chats by introducing new features, US technology news website ‘The Verge’ has reported. 

Meta is launching new filters that will appear at the top of your chat list: All (the default view), Unread (just messages marked as unread), and Groups (group chats and Community subgroups), it notes.

The filters start rolling out from Tuesday (16) and will become available to all WhatsApp users “in the coming weeks.”

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Indigo launches Mumbai-Colombo direct flights

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Indigo has expanded its connectivity to Sri Lanka adding Mumbai-Colombo direct flights from today (12), Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited said.

Accordingly, Indigo will operate flights three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

At present, Indigo operates to three destinations in India from Colombo (Chennai twice daily, Bengaluru once daily and Hyderabad six days per week). With this new route expansion, this will increase to four destinations, and it will contribute immensely to the development of travel, trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and India. 

With the new addition, Indigo will operate 30 weekly flights to Colombo from four main cities in India.

“AASL recently had successful negotiations with Indigo to commence flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai, India. Accordingly, Indigo will commence direct flight operations between Jaffna and Chennai from June 1, 2024 onwards with daily flight operations. This connectivity will boost travel and trade in the Northern Province, strengthening the cultural and religious bonds between the two nations”, Eng. Athula Galketiya, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt) Limited (AASL) said.

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