- IATA Code
- International Airlines serving this country (excluding codeshares)
The aviation sector in Sri Lanka is set for expansion after the cessation of the country’s long-running civil war. Foreign investment in the economy and inbound tourism had been seriously undermined by a lack of confidence in Sri Lanka’s security situation. However, the now-prevailing peace will provide a solid foundation for confidence both abroad and at home, for tourists and businesses alike. Sri Lankan Airlines, the government owned flag carrier, operates services to destinations in Asia and Europe from its main base and hub at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport – the country’s only international airport. Mihin Lanka is Sri Lanka’s LCC and is a state owned enterprise offering flights to domestic destinations and to a number of cities in India and the Gulf States.
Airports in Sri Lanka
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SriLankan Airlines is planning to focus expansion on existing and new markets in Asia ahead of the carrier’s ascension into the oneworld alliance. SriLankan is now on course to formally become oneworld’s smallest member in Nov-2013.
The government-owned carrier is currently focused heavily on South Asia, which accounts for 41% of its international seat capacity. SriLankan’s network in South Asia, particularly India and the Maldives, is its main draw to oneworld. But North Asia is SriLankan’s target growth market, with more capacity to greater China and the likely launch of flights to South Korea. SriLankan’s North Asia expansion could be boosted by a relationship with Cathay Pacific, which is sponsoring SriLankan’s membership into oneworld.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) formally joined oneworld on 1-Feb-2013, giving the alliance 12 full members and its first member in Southeast Asia. For oneworld, MAS fills a white spot in one of the world’s fastest growing regions. For MAS, oneworld supports the carrier’s new focus on the premium end of the market.
MAS is in the latter stages of a restructuring which began at the end of 2011, when it unveiled a new business plan. Joining oneworld is a key component of the business plan. While only three oneworld members currently serve MAS’ Kuala Lumpur hub, joining the alliance expands its virtual network and increases its relevance in the premium market.
National carrier SriLankan Airlines is betting that joining the oneworld alliance in 2013 will further its revival as the carrier continues to expand following the end of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009, which has permitted increases in tourism and GDP growth. It is this focus on Sri Lanka the carrier hopes to build, having served a decade ago as a de facto hub for India given the liberal access regime whereas India was more protective elsewhere. India's opening of its skies to the UAE and Qatar, home to powerful networks, had tremendous impact on SriLankan's network. While the carrier will grow to India, it sees its growth firmly planted in Asia and is planning a service to Seoul.
While oneworld discreetly acknowledges SriLankan is not its typical member, SriLankan does bring oneworld greater access to India, where oneworld lost out to earlier in the year with Kingfisher's prospective membership being suspended. The competitive landscape also works against oneworld's positioning in India, with Jet Airways likely to join Star Alliance in the near future.
Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) is preparing to expand capacity within Asia following the acquisition of an additional A320 while reducing the size of its widebody fleet to match its new and smaller long-haul network. The adjustments come as RBA implemented, at the beginning of last week, its restructuring plan, focussing on local traffic and long-haul to short-haul connections rather than continuing in the intensely competitive 'Kangaroo route'. RBA sees five A320s and five B787s, which are expected to replace its six B777-200ERs by the end of 2014, as an ideal fleet for executing its new strategy over the medium to long term.
Asian aviation is growing strongly, with airlines expanding their seating capacity by 7.4% this month, well ahead of the global 6% increase, according to Innovata. The Indian Subcontinent is leading the Asian charge, while China is surprisingly down in 18th place in terms of Asian growth rates, with just a 5.2% increase in seats (domestic and international) this month.
Sri Lanka’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, reported an operating loss of USD56.8 million in 2010, marking a 49% reduction in losses compared with 2009 levels, while Mihin Lanka turned around to achieve a USD3.8 million profit from a USD6.0 million loss in 2009. The figures were released in the Central Bank's 2010 annual report.