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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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Vehicle import ban extended until next year

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The government has postponed the lifting of the ban on private vehicle imports until the beginning of next year.

A decision has been made to put off lifting the ban because the country’s economy has not stabilised enough and foreign reserves are not at a sufficient level to facilitate such imports, a senior Treasury official told the Sunday Times. He said the import of private vehicles will result in an annual foreign exchange outflow of about USD 1 billion.

However, the import of commercial vehicles such as lorries, buses and trucks, as well as vans used in the tourism sector, can start next month, the official added. Vehicles used for government ministries and other agencies too will only be imported from the beginning of next year when the ban is lifted on private vehicle imports.

The government had earlier planned to allow the import of electric vehicles and private cars by the end of this year. This has also now been postponed until next year.

Motorbikes and three-wheelers make up the largest number of private vehicle imports. The import of these vehicles will have to be postponed until at least May or June next year due to the economy still not having recovered enough, the official revealed.

Small cars with engine capacities ranging from 600 cc to 800 cc are usually imported in bulk. Therefore, the government will allow only a certain quota of such vehicles to be imported. Only authorised local agents of the parent companies will be allowed to import such vehicles initially.

When allowing the import of vehicles from the start of next year, the government will also give priority to companies that locally assemble the vehicles from imported parts, the Treasury source said.

Meanwhile, about 10,000 vehicle permits issued to doctors and senior government officers are still pending. The official said they would only be able to consider allowing these vehicle imports next year, but that their vehicles too would not be allowed to be imported in bulk. The decision on these imports will depend on the state of the economy.

Traders will not be able to import vehicles in bulk and will only be allowed to import a limited number of vehicles. Only reconditioned vehicles that are two years old or less will be imported. Their engine capacities, too, will depend on what the government considers can be imported without harming the still fragile economy.

If the vehicle imports prove too much of a burden on the country’s economy and lead to serious strain on the US dollar and the country’s foreign reserves, the Treasury will not hesitate to re-impose restrictions, the official added.

(sundaytimes.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Consumer Commission orders Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel to pay Rs 1 crore

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The Delhi Consumer Commission directed travel companies Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel to pay Rs 1 crore as compensation to Yogesh Saigal for the death of his family members in a road accident during a vacation in Sri Lanka.

Considering the mental and physical trauma faced due to the loss of his family caused by the negligence of the two travel companies, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission sided with Saigal in an order dated July 1. The loss of livelihood and future prospects of Saigal’s wife were also taken into account.

Saigal, along with his wife, son, daughter, and father-in-law, had booked a vacation package to Sri Lanka through Thomas Cook in November 2019 for Rs 3.56 lakh. This package included accommodations, sightseeing, transportation, and travel insurance.

On December 23, 2019, the vehicle carrying Saigal’s family collided with a container truck in Colombo, resulting in the immediate deaths of his wife, son, and father-in-law. Saigal himself sustained severe injuries, including multiple fractures, and his daughter, Aishwarya, also suffered physical trauma.

The complainant further alleged that a few hours before the commencement of their journey, he was informed that the arrangements in Sri Lanka would be managed by Red Apple Travel, a fact that was not disclosed to him during the booking process.

Saigal further alleged that the involvement of Red Apple Travel was only revealed 36 hours prior to the journey, leaving the family with no option but to proceed or risk forfeiting the entire amount paid.

The aftermath of the accident led to Saigal issuing a legal notice to Thomas Cook on February 24, 2021, seeking Rs. 8.99 crore in damages for negligence, deficiency in services, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. In his complaint, Saigal argued that Thomas Cook had failed in its duty of care by not ensuring safe and reliable contractors for the tour.

(Indian Express)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by Indian Express has not been edited by SLM staff)

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SriLankan Airlines online booking services, restored

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SriLankan Airlines has announced in a statement that its internet booking services have been fully restored as of 08:30 GMT (14:00 local time in Sri Lanka), following a global outage of third-party service providers that affected the airline’s online booking services. 

Apologizing to any inconvenience caused, the airline urges customers to contact their Global Contact Centre at +94 19733 1979 for any further assistance with existing or new bookings.

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