SriLankan Airlines is the flag carrier of Sri Lanka. It was launched in 1979 as Air Lanka, when the first national airline Air Ceylon filed for bankruptcy and terminated all operations. In 1998, it was partially acquired by the Emirates group, but after rebranding and modernization of the airline, the partnership ended with the Sri Lankan government taking full control of the carrier. The logo of the airline shows a peacock ready to thrust into the air. The carrier flies it passengers to 94 destination around the world from its main hub airport, the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. To extend its reach even further the airline joined the Oneworld alliance in May 2014.
The airline operates 258 weekly flights to 42 destinations in 20 countries across Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Far East. Sri Lankan is the largest foreign carrier into the Maldives, with over 30 weekly flights between Male and Colombo. SriLankan airlines have service to 13 destinations in India.
The Airline has 6 Airbus A320-200, 2 Airbus A320neo, 4 Airbus A321-200, 1 Airbus A321neo, 6 Airbus A330-200 and 7 Airbus A330-300 making a total of 26 aircraft in its fleet.
The airline was initially named Air Lanka when the first national carrier of Sri Lanka filed for bankruptcy and the flight operations were terminated by the government. Due to the small budget of the airline, it has and still does rely heavily on leased aircraft from other international airlines and leasing companies. The fleet inherited in 1979, contained two Boeing 707, leased from Singapore Airlines. One Boeing 737 was acquired from Maersk Air on the lease was but maintained by Air Tara. In April 1980, saw the induction of other leased aircraft like a Boeing 737 from Royal Brunei and two Tristars from Air Canada, as the aircraft already in the fleet had expiring leasing contracts. In 1982 however, the company bought its first very own Tristar from All Nippon Airways. The ageing Boeing therefore now could be replaced. Maintenance of the planes was done by HAECO and Air Canada.
A ten-year partnership agreement was signed between the Emirates group and Air Lanka in 1998 when part of the airline was privatized. The Emirates group bought the company’s 43.6% stake for the US $70 million. Though the Sri Lankan government was giving up 40% of its profits, it was only for ten years and in the meantime, the financially sturdy Emirates Group was part of their national carrier, they would provide much-needed investment, a newer fleet and a better international image. In that light, the name of the airline was changed to SriLankan Airlines, the logo and the livery colours were rebranded and the airline was brought into the 21st century. Soon enough, In October 1999 SriLankan acquired 6 Airbus A330-200s. With a newer fleet, the number of destinations flown was also increased mostly to India, the Middle East and the rest of Asia.
In 2008, Emirates announced that it would not be renewing the managerial agreement of SriLankan Airways with the government of Sri Lanka due to a slow but steady administrative encroachment of many Sri Lankan officials into the day to day control matters of the airline. Emirates sold its shares to the government of Sir Lanka in 2010 and ended their partnership. In 2008, The airlines CEO was sacked for refusing to shift business class passengers to economy class, to make room for President Rajapakse’s family members flying from London to Colombo. The airline, which was running on a profit until then with the partnership of Emirates, has since been flying planes at a net loss after 2008.The airline made a partnership with Oneworld alliance in 2014. Now, Sri Lankan airlines operate between Jakarta, Dhaka, Lahore, Bahrain, Varanasi, Gaya, Madurai, Seychelles, Sharjah, Kolkata and Gan, in the Maldives.