flydubai, Dubai ’s first low cost airline, notched up its fourth new destination in a week last night when its inaugural flight to Sri Lanka touched down in Colombo.

flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith, who travelled on the inaugural flight, said: “We’re delighted to be able to expand our range of destinations in the South Asian sub-continent with the start of our flights to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination and by making travel to the capital a little less complex, a little less stressful and a little less expensive, I am confident this new route will be a popular one. Especially since a one way fare with flydubai costs from just AED450, including all taxes, charges and one piece of hand luggage.

“Travel to Sri Lanka has shown a significant increase so far this year, with a 106 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2010, according to the Sri Lankan tourism board.

“With wonderful beaches and fabulous historical and cultural sites to attract visitors, Sri Lanka is always a popular destination for tourists. I am confident the advent of flydubai’s simple, uncomplicated, quality, low fare service to Colombo will be popular with travellers in both directions and will help to stimulate this growing market.”

Sri Lanka’s economy has seen sustained growth in the last few years, recovering from a turbulent period marked by civil war and natural disasters. The country has shaken off these setbacks and started to re-emerge by recording a 3.5 per cent estimated GDP growth in 2009, helped along by extensive foreign investment, including trade with the UAE. Both countries are actively engaging in stimulating further bilateral trade and the flydubai service will help strengthen these ties.

Sri Lanka is a diverse and culturally rich country, with a strong history as a trading society as well as having a documented history of royal families that stretches back 2000 years. Visitors are attracted to Sri Lanka by its mix as an exotic getaway offering tea plantations, beautiful beaches and tropical highland forests. Colombo is the commercial hub and is home to more than 700,000 of the island’s 20 million residents.

flydubai will operate four flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. FZ555 leaves Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 at 1855hrs and arrives in Colombo at 0110hrs local time the following day. The return flight FZ556 leaves Colombo at 0210hrs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Dubai at 0510hrs local time.

Flights can be purchased on flydubai’s website (www.flydubai.com), through the call centre (+9714 301 0800) and from travel agents.

Using flydubai’s simple model, customers only pay only for the services they want to receive. The price includes all taxes and one piece of hand baggage, weighing up to 10kg, per passenger.

Passengers have the option to purchase checked-in baggage in advance at just AED60 for the first piece and AED150 for the second, weighing up to 32kgs, subject to availability.

flydubai operates from a modernised and enhanced Terminal 2 on the north side of Dubai International Airport.