Sri Lankan Airlines is the national airline of Sri Lanka. The airline operates from its main hub located at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo. Originally named as 'Air Lanka', the airline was formed by the Government of Sri Lanka, in July 1979, following the termination of Air Ceylon, in 1978. Sri Lankan Airlines started its operations in a humble way, with a fleet consisting of only two Boeing 707 jets, which were bought on lease, from Singapore Airlines. Over the years, Sri Lankan Airlines has grown and now, it operates scheduled flights to a number of international destinations in Asia and Europe, with the help of its modern fleet of aircrafts. Check out more information on the profile and history of Sri Lankan Airlines.
After its inception in July 1979, Air Lanka increased its number of destinations and added more aircrafts to its fleet. By the advent of the 1990s decade, the airline possessed a number of sophisticated aircrafts and served 26 destinations. In 1992, the airline brought its first Airbus A320. The State-owned airline was partially privatized in 1998, when the Dubai based Emirates Group signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan Government. As per the agreement, Emirates Group was bestowed with exclusive rights for all the aircraft ground handling and airline catering, at the hub of Air Lanka, at Colombo-Bandaranaike airport, for a period of ten years.
Initially, Emirates Group acquired 40% stake of Air Lanka, which was later on increased to 43.6%. The Group aimed to revamp the image and fleet of the airline. Although the Sri Lankan Government retained the majority of stake, it allowed the Emirates Group to have full control on the decisions regarding investment and management of Air Lanka. Subsequently, Emirates Group changed the name of the airline, to Sri Lankan Airlines. Soon, the carrier introduced six Airbus A330-200s aircrafts to its fleet, which already consisted of Airbus A340-300 and A320-200 aircrafts. The aircrafts were included between October 1999 and July 2000. Painted in a brand new livery, the fourth A340-300 entered the fleet later on. In order to reflect its new corporate image, Sri Lankan Airlines made changed in the configuration of A340 fleet (converted it into two-class) and overhauled its interiors.
Sri Lankan Airlines was adversely affected by the prevalent environmental problems, terrorism and the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The 2004 Indian ocean earthquake, the Civil War within Sri Lanka and terrorist attacks on Colombo-Bandaranaike airport, all effected the business of Sri Lankan Airlines adversely, resulting in the severe damage of two and complete destruction of four of its aircrafts. Following such a massive destruction, the Sri Lankan Government decided to shift its hub to Colombo, for flights operated to other countries in Asia.
After the change in its hub, Sri Lankan Airlines picked up pace in its further development. It increased it flights to India, making it 100 flights a week, covering 11 destinations in the country. However, flights to seven destinations in India, including Ahmadabad, Coimbatore, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, were terminated later on. Sri Lankan Airlines continued to expand its network of destinations. It started providing air service to Jeddah and developed non-stop flights from Maldives (Malé) to London, Paris and Tokyo.
Destinations And Fleet
Currently, Sri Lankan Airlines flies to as many as 28 destinations in 15 countries across Asia and Europe. In Asia, the airline flies to China, India (to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Trichy and Trivandrum), Japan, Maldives, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In Europe, the airline covers France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom. The airline operates a modern fleet with 13 aircrafts, namely Airbus A320-200, Airbus A330-200 and Airbus A340-300.