6 Interesting Facts About SriLankan Airlines

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330-300 in flight

SriLankan Airlines is the national carrier of Sri Lanka and is based at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

The proud national carrier of Sri Lanka, the airline has had quite a history since its inception as Air Lanka in 1979. Today, the modern airline is the largest airline in Sri Lanka and is a growing presence across Australasian airports.

Here are 5 facts about SriLankan Airlines you may not know –

1. One of the oldest airlines in Asia

SriLankan Airlines was initially founded as Air Ceylon in 1947, making it one of the oldest airlines in Asia. It later rebranded as SriLankan Airlines in 1979.

To put that in perspective, KLM – the world’s oldest airline – was established in 1919!

2. Leading the way for alliances in the Indian region

SriLankan Airlines is a Oneworld alliance member. Joining in 2014, it was the first carrier in the Indian region to be affiliated with a global airline alliance.

3. They stay in touch with their heritage

SriLankan Airlines Business Class travellers, and oneworld members travelling in Business and First class, can enter the “Serendib Lounge,” named after the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. It offers a luxurious environment for passengers to relax, enjoy refreshments, and access business facilities before their flight.
The Serendib Lounge also offers showers at Colombo Airport for passengers.

4. 100% AirBus Fleet

SriLankan Airlines is the first airline in the Indian subcontinent to operate an all-Airbus fleet. It currently operates a fleet consisting of Airbus A320, A321neo, A330, and A350 aircraft.

SriLankan Airlines hasn’t operated Boeing aircraft since they retired their Boeing 767-300ER in 2010.

5. They are dedicated to sustainability

SriLankan Airlines is known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. It was the first airline in Asia to join the United Nations’ “Clean Skies for Tomorrow” initiative and has implemented various eco-friendly measures, such as reducing single-use plastics and fuel consumption.

They also have a partnership with Coca-Cola to recycle PET bottles, and House of Lonali – a Sri Lankan organisation that designs, and manufactures upcycled lifestyle products using the airline’s scrap material that would otherwise end up in landfill.

You can read all about their environmental efforts here.

6. It was once partially owned by Emirates

During the 70s, when SriLankan began, it took over Air Ceylon, the country’s former flag carrier. At this time, the airline was called Air Lanka.

About 20 years later, the state-owned carrier became partially privatised when Dubai-based Emirates bought a significant stake in the business – at one time, it owned 43.6% of the airline with the Government owning the other half.

After 10 years of strategic collaboration, in 2008, Emirates chose not to renew the contract. Their shares were sold back to the SriLankan government, leaving SirLankan entirely state-owned.