Budget airine Flydubai has begun offering Dubai-Colombo flights for around Rs. 3,000 less than Mihin Lanka. The carrier also flies direct to Dubai and maintains a larger fleet. Mihin flights to Dubai currently transit through Kuwait. The state-owned budget carrier has struggled throughout its history, losing 900 million Rupees last year. It currently operates one aircraft to five destinations. Flydubai is backed by the Dubai government and operates 9 aircraft to 21 destinations.
Mihin Lanka, now operating with shared services from Sri Lankan airlines, has differentiated itself based on price. With Flydubai offering flights as low as 225 AED (Rs. 7,000) booked months in advance, this competitive advantage as eroded, for the Middle East flights at least. Mihin Lanka’s other routes are pilgrimage flights to Indian destinations where they also face stiff competition from Indian budget carriers.