The announcement that SriLankan Airlines has been chosen as a future member of the oneworld alliance (possibly by the end of 2013) came as something of a surprise to many observers. However, with India’s Kingfisher Airlines not joining the alliance as previously planned in February (while it sorts out its financial position), it seems that oneworld was keen to find some other way of tapping into the Indian Ocean market. With Air India a far from desirable candidate, Jet Airways possibly a candidate for the Star Alliance, and most of India’s other airlines working to an LCC model with relatively few international routes at present, oneworld seems to have decided that SriLankan offers a viable alternative way of engaging with the Indian market.
SriLankan operates a fleet of 21 aircraft; eight A320s, seven A330-200s and six A340s with no further aircraft on order. According to ICAO data the airline carried 3.3 million passengers in 2011, though passenger numbers are up so far in 2012.
Only seven of 33 destinations are in India
SriLankan operates around 250 weekly departures from its Colombo base where it accounts for just over 50% of all flights and seats. This summer the airline will operate non-stop from Colombo to 28 destinations spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, a further four destinations via Bangkok, and one via Dubai.
|Region||Destination (weekly frequency)|
|Asia (non-India)||Bangkok (14), Beijing* (3), Guangzhou* (4), Hong Kong* (3), Karachi (7), Kuala Lumpur (9), Male (32), Shanghai* (4), Singapore (14), Tokyo Narita (5)|
|Europe||Frankfurt (4), London Heathrow (7), Milan Malpensa*** (3), Moscow DME** (2), Paris CDG (4), Rome FCO*** (3), Zurich (1)|
|India||Bangalore (7), Chennai (28), Delhi (7), Kochi (14), Mumbai (7), Thiruvananthapuram (7), Tiruchirapalli (7),|
|Middle East||Abu Dhabi (7), Bahrain (5), Dammam (3), Doha (7), Dubai (9), Jeddah (3), Kuwait (7), Muscat (4), Riyadh (3)|
|Source: Innovata (August 2012)
* via Bangkok
** via Dubai
*** Operates Colombo – Milan Malpensa – Rome Fiumicino – Colombo
Of these routes Guangzhou (28 January), Kochi (27 March), Moscow (15 September) and Zurich (23 December) were launched in 2011. There appear to be no new routes planned in 2012.
What they said (last week)
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said: “With the world airline industry increasingly focused on alliances, SriLankan has carried out in-depth analysis of the options open to the airline as we enter this latest phase of our development. oneworld is very clearly the best option for us. Joining the alliance will help put SriLankan more firmly on the global aviation map and vastly improve Sri Lanka’s connections with the rest of the world, with all that means for our country’s vital tourism industry.”
SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena added: “As an airline highly focused on quality service, we are extremely proud to have been invited to join the highest quality alliance with the best airline partners offering a global network that best complements our own. We look forward to completing all joining requirements as soon as possible.”
American Airlines’ Chairman and Chief Executive Tom Horton, Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, said: “Today’s agreement with SriLankan Airlines adds even more value for our customers who have made oneworld the first choice airline alliance for the world’s frequent international travellers. We look forward to welcoming SriLankan to oneworld.”
oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said: “In SriLankan Airlines, oneworld is pleased to welcome a high-quality airline that will enhance oneworld’s network and product offerings in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.”
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar said: “SriLankan Airlines is a fine candidate for oneworld, with its growing reputation for customer service mirroring oneworld’s own focus – and with Sri Lanka’s economy growing faster than at any other time in the nation’s history, the timing is right. Cathay Pacific is delighted to be serving as its sponsor in joining oneworld.”