First carrier from Indian subcontinent to join an alliance
SriLankan Airlines will become a full member of oneworld from May 1. It will be the first carrier from the Indian subcontinent to become part of any global airline alliance.
The national airline of Sri Lanka received clearance to join after completing a review of its readiness conducted by Cathay Pacific Airways, which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance.
Its addition to oneworld will come a month after the alliance takes in TAM and US Airways on March 31, concluding what the group calls its “biggest yet expansion program”.
Tracing its origins back to 1947, SriLankan Airlines is the flag carrier for Sri Lanka but also the largest international airline serving the Maldives and with a significant presence in southern India. It has virtually doubled in size since peace returned to its home country four years ago and plans further substantial expansion to its fleet and network in the next few years.
It now operates a fleet of 21 aircraft and has orders for 10 new planes, including four A350s. It carried 4.7 million passengers last year between its Colombo base and 32 destinations.
From the first flights on May 1, the 100,000 members of SriLankan’s FlySmiLes loyalty program will, in effect, have their frequent flyer privileges extended to whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline.
[image courtesy Airbus]