SriLankan Airlines is to be inducted as a full member of oneworld with effect from Thursday 1 May – as 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 oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by Cathay Pacific Airways, which is sponsoring SriLankan Airlines’ entry into the alliance, along with the oneworld central team.
SriLankan Airlines’ induction into oneworld will come a month after the alliance inducts TAM Airlines of Brazil and US Airways, on March 31, concluding the group’s biggest expansion program in any one year.
From its first flights on May 1, the 100,000 members of SriLankan’s FlySmiLes loyalty program will have their frequent-flyer privileges extended to whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline.
FlySmiLes Platinum cardholders will have oneworld Emerald status in the oneworld loyalty program. FlySmiLes Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and FlySmiLes Classic will be oneworld Ruby.
From May 1, FlySmiLes Platinum and Gold members will be able to use any of the more than 600 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with one of the alliance’s carriers. SriLankan Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges.
Also from May 1, the 150 million members of the other oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programs will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on SriLankan Airlines.
As part of oneworld, SriLankan will be able to offer all of its customers seamless connections across a global network serving almost 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries, offering connections between all of the world’s leading business centers.
SriLankan is already participating in the oneworld Global Explorer Fare, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and various airlines which are not part of the alliance. From May 1, SriLankan’s network will be covered by oneworld’s extensive range of alliance fares and sales products.
Its addition will bring two new destinations on to the oneworld network – the new Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (IATA code HRI) serving the SriLankan city of Hambantota and Tiruchirappalli International Airport (TRZ), which serves the city of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu state in southeastern India.
SriLankan already codeshares with oneworld members Malaysia Airlines and S7 Airlines and additional codeshare agreements for SriLankan with a number of other oneworld partners are at an advanced stage of discussion, according to oneworld.
Tracing its origins back to 1947, SriLankan Airlines today is the country’s flag carrier. It also the largest international airline serving The Maldives and has a significant presence in southern India.
SriLankan Airlines has virtually doubled in size since peace returned to its home country four years ago and is planning further substantial expansion to its fleet and network in the next few years, according to oneworld.
It now operates a fleet of 21 aircraft – including seven Airbus A320s, seven A330-200s and six A340-300s, with an average age of nine years – and has agreed orders and lease commitments for 13 new widebody aircraft, including seven Airbus A350-900 jets and six A330-300s.
Using the IATA flight code ‘UL’, SriLankan Airlines carried 4.7 million passengers last year between its main base at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) and 32 destinations in 20 countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Its destinations include oneworld hubs Doha, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow Domodedovo and Tokyo Narita, along with Bangkok and Singapore.