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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2588

SriLankan Airlines a milestone in Lanka’s aviation

By Quintus Perera

Colombo, 11 November, ( SriLankan Airlines through trials, travails, bouquets and brickbats reached the 10th anniversary milestone to emerged an award winning airline, rubbing its shoulders with the finest carriers anywhere in the world.

Sri Lankan Airlines over the past decade has won more than 50 global and local awards competing with the finest globally reputed airlines.

Some of the most prestigious accolades are: 2000 Merit Award as one of Three Best Aviation Security Organizations in the Asia Pacific Region, at Asia Pacific Aviation Security Conference; 2001- Rated Best Airline in Central Asia by Skytrax; 2000 – Rated Best Airline into South Asia in a poll of UK Travel Agents by Selling Long Haul Magazine. 2003 – World’s Friendliest Cabin Staff Award from Skytrax; 2004: Airbus Industrie presents SriLankan Engineering with Award for World’s Best Operator of A330 Aircraft (Small Fleet); 2005 – Sri Lankan receives Airline Turnaround of the year Award from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation; 2006 – Sri Lankan wins Galileo Indian Express Award for Best Eastbound International Airline in India for 2004-05 and First airline in Asia to be awarded Imperial Mark. SriLankan AirbusSriLankan Airbus

SriLankan launched a book titled “Milestones on our Journey” at the Hilton Hotel to commemorate the fathoming of grueling journey to grand success as depicted in the words of Chandana De Silva, Head of Corporate Communications, Sri Lankan when he said “Sri Lankan Airlines has faced more trials in the past decade than any company I can think of anywhere in the world, from the destruction of half our fleet of aircraft in the terror attack in July 2001 to the Tsunami of December 2004”.

Sri Lanka’s international airline began operations on 12th September 1979 as a totally state owned airline known as ‘AirLanka’, operating services to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Though progress made in various fronts, it required state funding for day to day upkeep.

After 25 years of operation with its predecessor state Airline ‘Air Ceylon’ it required replacing the old fleet on the face of heavy competition or imminent closure.

The government accepting a World Bank advice, to seek foreign airline investor/partner, Emirates, the airline from the United Arab Emirates purchased 40 percent shareholding, the employee were gifted with 9 percent and the government kept the balanced 51 percent. That was the birth of ‘SriLankan Airlines’ that now flies high in the international airlines market.

Hostesses with enchanting smilesHostesses with enchanting smiles

Since the emergence of SriLankan, it did not require borrowing from anyone to finance its activities, but the Sri Lankan Airlines Group has achieved a Profit After Tax in seven years of the nine years, since privatization in 1998.

Yet it encountered jolts in 2000/01 due to aggravated internal conflict plummeted the tourist traffic to the country and in 2001/02 when the airline coped with two critical challenges – the destruction of half its fleet on the ground during a terror attack on 24th July 2001 and the crisis in the global ari transport industry following the September 11 attacks.

Group Net Profit/loss in Rs millions: 98/99- 1,451; 99/00 – 4,023; 00/01- (4,053); 01/02 – (1,369); 02/03 – 4,215; 03/04 – 8,504; 04/05 – 1,848; 05/06 – 1,719 and 06/07 - 862

The fleet now consists of modern airbus fleet with state of the art onboard entertainment systems and comforts that are equal of better than its direct competitors, operating to 51 destinations in 28 countries. SriLankan uses modern sophisticated technology which enables real time communication to provide instant solutions for the convenience of customers. It earned the proud record of as the most frequent foreign carrier into India with 100 flights per week into 10 destinations.

The Airline launched SriLnkan Air Taxi, its domestic services in 2004 and expanded to cover 15 destinations until security restrictions led to a temporary suspension in May 2007.

Freighter Services of SriLankan Cargo has positioned Colombo as the hub in the Indian Ocean linking the expanding Indian economy with the rest of the world. Its subsidiary, SriLankan Catering (Pvt) Ltd a US $ 25 million investment ensures the capability of servng the catering needs of all airlines touching Colombo for the foreseeable future.

SriLankan is the ground services provider for all airlines that operate to Colombo. It thus provides passenger services, baggage handling, cargo handling and ground support services for all scheduled and non-scheduled aircraft operators. SriLankan Engineering, the technical arm of the airline, is marketing its aircraft maintenance services to other airlines, while carrying out all major maintenances operations on SriLankan’s own fleet.

Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of Sri Lankan gained a consistent reputation as the world’s finest loyalty programme which now counts more than 2.5 million members worldwide.

Milestones on our journey not only pays glowing tribute to its 6,000 strong staff here and around the globe, but it also comes handy as an excellent piece of promotion.

- Asian Tribune -

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