The low-cost carrier’s first inaugural flight was 8D 821, which departed Colombo at 12:58 and landed in Dubai at approximately 11:33. The flight was operated by one of the airline’s three Airbus A320-200s registered as 4R-EXS, which was leased from DVB Bank and delivered to FitsAir on 9 February.
But that’s not all, as FitsAir has quite an exciting October lined up full of inaugurations. Starting October 10, the low-cost carrier will land for the first time at Malé’s Velana International Airport as 8D 811 around 12:30 p.m.
The one and a half hour flight will also be operated by one of FitsAir’s Airbus A320-200 aircraft. And like the frequency of the Colombo-Dubai routes, FitsAir aims to operate air services to Male as scheduled three times a week every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
From October 28, the low-cost carrier will begin its third inaugural flight to Tiruchirappalli International Airport in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Although the airline’s website has yet to show any booking options for the route, it has also suggested operating it three times a week. Since Tuesday is not listed on any timetable yet, it could probably be one of the days on the Colombo-Tiruchirappalli route.
The budget carrier’s Airbus A320-200 is configured with eight seats in Economy Plus and 156 seats in Economy. Photo: FitsAir
Apart from Colombo, FitsAir will also operate from Ratmalana Airport, where it plans to resume domestic flights, and Jaffna Airport, where it plans to build a mini-hub. For a low-cost carrier that just launched four days ago, FitsAir seems to be on a productive run as it appears to be serving high-end markets such as Dubai and India.
Especially since FitsAir is entering Sri Lanka’s aviation industry at a crucial time when the country is facing a pernicious financial crisis resulting in acute shortages of foreign exchange and fuel, which has led to several airlines diverting to refuel or reduce capacity. The budget carrier’s entry also comes at a time when flag carrier Sri Lankan Airlines is struggling.
With FitsAir in the sky, Sri Lankan Airlines is in quite a competition because when it comes to business models, passengers would already be more attracted to low cost flights. In terms of routes, FitsAir’s thrice-weekly Colombo-Tiruchirappalli flights are not as impressive as Sri Lankan Airlines’ seven-weekly offering.
However, competition will heat up even more once the budget carrier starts increasing frequencies. In addition, FitsAir is set to launch Jaffna-Tiruchirappalli and Colombo-Madurai next year, a route that Sri Lankan Airlines offered 14 weekly services before the pandemic.
Reactions to the launch of FitsAir have been positive so far as the low-cost carrier is seen as a revolutionary ray of hope amid the impending doldrums of the country’s aviation industry. Forecasts even suggested that FitsAir could very well overtake the flagship carrier, given its current growth and launch popularity and its strong financials as a privatized carrier. Wherever FitsAir may fly next, may it have blue skies ahead.