SriLankan Airlines is to join oneworld, adding one of the fastest growing airlines in Asia to the airline alliance.
oneworld is considered the World’s Leading Airline Alliance by the prestigious World Travel Awards.
SriLankan Airlines election as a oneworld member designate was announced as the chief executives of the alliance’s members gathered for a meeting of the group’s board, on the sidelines of IATA’s 2012 World Air Transport Summit in Beijing.
SriLankan is expected to be implemented into oneworld late next year, flying alongside some of the biggest and best brands in the airline business.
Cathay Pacific will serve as its sponsor in joining oneworld, supporting the airline through its alliance implementation programme.
SriLankan already code-shares with oneworld member designate Malaysia Airlines - and has also announced agreements in principle to code-share also with oneworld partners Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.
SriLankan Airlines has virtually doubled in size since peace returned to its home country three 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 carried 3.5 million passengers last year between its Colombo base and 34 destinations in 22 countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, including oneworld hubs Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow Domodedovo and Tokyo Narita, along with Bangkok and Singapore.
Besides flying as Sri Lanka’s flag-carrier, it is also the largest international carrier serving the neighbouring Maldives and with a significant presence also in southern India.
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.”