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SriLankan Airlines
Founded July 1979
Hubs Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport
Frequent flyer program FlySmiLes
Member lounge Serendib Lounge
Fleet size 12
Destinations 44[1]
Company slogan You're Our World
Headquarters Airline Centre
Bandaranaike International Airport
Katunayake, Sri Lanka
Key people Manoj Gunawardena (CEO)[2]

SriLankan Airlines Limited (previously known as Air Lanka) is the flag carrier airline of Sri Lanka. It operates a fleet of 12 Airbus aircraft to destinations in Asia and Europe from its main base and hub at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport. The airline's trademark phrase is 'You're Our World', and the company's logo features a stylized peacock. The airline's head office is in the Airline Centre, on the grounds of the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, Sri Lanka.[3]

SriLankan is not part of an airline alliance. It had a partnership with Emirates Airline (which still maintains a 43.63% stake in SriLankan),[2] which expired on 31 March 2008.[4]



Air Lanka was set up by the Government of Sri Lanka in July 1979 following the closure of Air Ceylon in 1978. Initially, the new air carrier operated two Boeing 707 jets on lease from Singapore Airlines. During the 1980s, the airline increased the number of destinations served and made additions to its fleet. By 1990, Air Lanka served 26 destinations. In December 1992, the airline purchased its first Airbus A320.

Air Lanka, which was state owned, was part-privatized to the Dubai based Emirates Group in 1998 when Emirates and the Sri Lankan Government signed an agreement for a ten-year strategic partnership. This agreement included exclusive rights for all aircraft ground handling and airline catering at Colombo-Bandaranaike airport for a ten-year period. Emirates bought a 40% stake worth US$70 million (which it later increased to 43.6%) in Air Lanka, and sought to refurbish the airline's image and fleet. The Government retained a majority stake in the airline but gave full control to Emirates for investment and management decisions. In 1998, the Air Lanka brand was abandoned and SriLankan Airlines was born.[citation needed] In the early 1990s the airline had its headquarters in Colombo.[5]

SriLankan acquired six Airbus A330-200s to complement its fleet of Airbus A340-300 and A320-200 aircraft. The A330-200 units joined the airline between October 1999 and July 2000. The company’s fourth A340-300 arrived at Colombo painted in the airline’s new corporate livery. SriLankan also upgraded its existing A340 fleet into a two-class configuration (business and economy class) whilst overhauling the interior to reflect the new corporate image.

SriLankan Airlines has been affected by both environmental problems and acts of terrorism. This has included the SARS outbreak, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, the Civil War within Sri Lanka and a terrorist attack on Colombo-Bandaranaike airport, which destroyed four aircraft and damaged two, writing off half of the airline's fleet. SriLankan subsequently took the decision to recreate Colombo as a new hub for flights to Asia. An example of this is the expansion into regional markets, notably in India. It is now the largest foreign air carrier into India with 100 flights a week to 11 destinations.

Whilst continuing expansion in the region, SriLankan also serves Jeddah, its third destination in Saudi Arabia, after Riyadh and Dammam. Jeddah was the airline's 51st destination in 28 countries, thus increasing to nine the number of its destinations in the Middle East.

As part of its expansion strategy, it has also developed non-stop flights from the Maldives (Malé) to London, Paris and Tokyo.

In 2008, the Government of Sri Lanka notified Emirates Airlines that it will not renew the management contract[6] which then expired on March 31, 2008.

The flight attendant's uniform remained unchanged since the days of Air Lanka until February 2010 when a new uniform and product was unveiled. As well as the new uniform, a product upgrade (along with refurbishment and refleeting of the current fleet) will take place in order for SriLankan to attain a 5 star rating in the future.[7]

Sri Lankan 'rishabh Monara'

The SriLankan Airlines logo features the peacock bird ('Monara' in Sinhala) (මොණරා) from the mythical Dandumonara Yanthra(flying machine similar to a peacock) built according to Sinhalese[citation needed] folklore and Ramayana by the mythical King Ravana. The original logo was designed by veteran Sri Lankan artist Senaka Senanayake, whose intention it was that the Peacock denoted the 'Dandumonara' flying machine from Ravana story. The five feathers in the logo stood for the Pancha Seela, and head denoted the triple gem.

There was much animosity about the name change and new logo within Sri Lanka and among its expatriates. 'Air Lanka' had proved to be a much-loved name amongst a large community who did not want it changed, as the name had remained the same since it was changed from 'Air Ceylon' in the 1970s. It was also pointed out that Air Lanka is an easier name to refer to (much like Air India) than Sri Lankan Airlines. Due to folklore and superstition, some Sri Lankans believe that the new SriLankan Airlines logo - featuring the peacock flying away from the aircraft - would bring misfortune to the airline, as opposed to the old logo that showed the peacock facing the direction of the aircraft in flight. To this day, such critics claim that they are correct, as the airline is far from its glory days due to grave financial mismanagement.


SriLankan serves 44 destinations in 29 countries (as of 15 December 2009).[1]


Codeshare destinations

  • bmi - Manchester, Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Belfast[8]
  • Etihad Airways - Amman, Brussels, Dublin, Geneva, Manchester, Munich, New York, Chicago, Larnaca, Athens, Istanbul[9][10]
  • Malaysia Airlines - Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Jakarta, Seoul[11]

srilankan airlines new destination World Routes 2010


As of February 2010, SriLankan Airlines has an all Airbus fleet.[12]

The airline is in the midst of a refleeting program replacing older narrowbody aircraft with new or almost new ones.[13]

SriLankan Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
Airbus A320-200 3[12] 152 (12/140)
Airbus A330-200 4[12] 287 (12/275)
Airbus A340-300 5[12] 313 (18/295)
Total fleet 12

The average age of SriLankan's fleet is 9.6 years, as of February 2010.[12]


The cabins are very similar to the cabins of the Emirates Airline A330-200s and A340-300s. SriLankan provides an individual video player that includes 18 movies and 22 radio channels (Economy Class) and over 30 movie titles in different languages (Business Class). Both classes are given the option of a "Satcom" satellite phone. Satcom allows calling anyone in another seat free of charge. SriLankan prepares meals for those with special dietary requirements and Business Class passengers can pre-order any of the special meals available.


SriLankan Catering, although a 100% owned subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, is a standalone operation responsible for its own economic infrastructure, management and profitability. Under the guidance of its chief executive officer, the company’s prime responsibility is the preparation of in-flight meals for SriLankan Airlines. It also caters for foreign airlines, among which are Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Emirates. SriLankan Catering can produce 15,000 meals each day.[14]


New movies from Hollywood, old classics and some films from India are available. There are also comedies, dramas, arts, sports and children's TV.

CTV is SriLankan's channel for children with programmes such as comedies and cartoons. SriLankan also has 22 radio channels to provide music from around the world. SriLankan's radio channels cover the European charts, Golden Era, classical and jazz and popular music selections from Sri Lanka, Arabia, India and Japan. New games have been added, including puzzles, playing cards and classic board games.[15]

Frequent Flyer Program

SriLankan's first frequent flyer program was called Serendib Miles and was abandoned in early 2000. It then became a partner of Emirates' Skywards frequent flyer program. However this agreement ceased to exist when the partnership between the two airlines concluded on 31 March 2008.[16] SriLankan then launched FlySmiLes, which has since added a variety of new reward partners to its program.[17]

Official Website:

Incidents and accidents

On 3 May 1986, a bomb planted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam exploded on board Flight UL512 prior to take-off at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport. The bomb, which had been timed to explode in-flight, went off while the aircraft, a Lockheed L-1011 'Tristar' was on the ground killing 14 of 128 passengers. Officials believe the bomb may have been concealed in crates of meat and vegetables being freighted to the Republic of Maldives. Other reports believe that the bomb was hidden in the aircraft's 'Fly Away Kit'.

On 24 July 2001, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam launched a suicide attack at Colombo-Bandaranaike airport that damaged or destroyed 26 aircraft. Four aircraft were written off, including an Airbus A340-300 destroyed by an explosive charge and an Airbus A330-200 destroyed by a rocket fired from the control tower. In addition, an A320-200 and an A340-300 were damaged in the assault. In total, six Sri Lanka Air Force personnel, one commando and eight members of the LTTE were killed.[18]


  • World’s Best Airline in a survey of Economy Class passengers
  • World’s Friendliest Cabin Staff - Skytrax
  • World’s Most Reliable Operator of Airbus A330s (small fleet) - Airbus Industrie
  • World’s Most Reliable Operator of Airbus A340s (small fleet) - Airbus Industrie
  • First Runner-up for World’s Best Cabin Staff – Skytrax
  • Best Airline in South Asia (three consecutive times) from Travel Trade Gazette
  • Best Airline in Central Asia (four consecutive times) - Skytrax
  • Best Overall In-flight Entertainment (small fleet), twice – World Airline Entertainment Association
  • Best Airline Turnaround of the Year 2004 – Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation
  • Galileo Indian Express Award for Best Eastbound International Airline

In March 2003, the Skytrax Research Agency’s worldwide passenger survey voted SriLankan, for the third consecutive year, 'Best Airline of the Year for Central Asia'. In that same year, Travel Trade Gazette Asia voted SriLankan the 'Best Airline in South Asia'. In 2001, the UK Wanderlust Magazine placed SriLankan eighth in its Top Major Airlines travel award category.


  • Sri Lankan Cargo
  • Sri Lankan Catering
  • Sri Lankan Engineering
  • Sri Lankan Holidays[19]
  • Sri Lankan Ground Handling[20]


  1. ^ a b SriLankan Airlines - Travel Planner / Route Map
  2. ^ a b "SriLankan Airlines - About Us / SriLankan Today
  3. ^ "SriLankan Airlines - Contact Us / SriLankan Airlines Offices." SriLankan Airlines. Retrieved on 29 September 2009.
  4. ^ Management contract terminated January 2008, OAG, News briefing
  5. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 14-20 March 1990 "Airlift International" 57.
  6. ^ Emirates walking away from SriLankan Nicholas Ionides, 2008-01-22, Flight International
  7. ^ SriLankan Airlines promises its passengers, “We are changing the way we fly”, SriLankan Airlines, 2010-02-16
  8. ^ Sri Lankan in code share deal with British carrier after war ends LBO, i2009-07-30
  9. ^ SriLankan extends network to New York and four other cities through Etihad partnership The Island, 2010-02-28
  10. ^ SriLankan and Etihad Airways Announce New Codeshare Partnership PRZOOM - Newswire, 2008-10-10
  11. ^ Codeshare partnership expanded between Malaysia Airlines and SriLankan Airlines eTurboNews, 2009-06-23.
  12. ^ a b c d e Fleet age Srilankan Airlines - Airfleets
  13. ^ [1]Airline Industry Review - SriLankan takes delivery of an A320
  14. ^ SriLankan Food and Beverage
  15. ^ SriLankan Entertainment
  16. ^ Sri Lankan Airlines launches FFP Business Traveller, 2008-03-26.
  17. ^ ‘FlySmiles’ announces exciting rewards Sunday Times, 2009-01-25.
  18. ^ "Intelligence failures exposed by Tamil Tiger airport attack". Jane's Intelligence Review. 2001. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  19. ^ SriLankan Holidays
  20. ^ SriLankan Ground Handling

External links


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