SriLankan Airlines joins OneWorld alliance

K Giriprakash Hambantota | Updated on November 24, 2017 Published on April 30, 2014

The airline will get access to 1,000 airports in 150 countries

SriLankan has become the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any of the global airline alliances, giving it access to several hundred airports and seamless travel for its passengers across countries.

SriLankan, which formally joined OneWorld alliance on Thursday, will now rub shoulders with the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and several other member-airlines giving it access to 1,000 airports in 150 countries and a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft.

At present, SriLankan flies to over 70 destinations in 36 countries. Its Indian counterpart, Air India is expected to join the rival Star Alliance in June this year. Star Alliance is the biggest among the three such airline partnerships. Star connects to 1,269 airports in 190 countries. Star Alliance has 26 member airlines, SkyTeam has 20 and OneWorld has 15.

SriLankan Airlines expects to earn $25 million revenues after joining OneWorld. “By joining a global alliance, we will have access to hundreds of destinations which would not have been possible if we were to do it alone,” SriLankan Airlines CEO, Kapila Chandrasena told Business Line.

He said the airline’s addition to OneWorld will add two new destinations to the alliance network: Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka as well as Tiruchirapalli in South India.

“We are looking to add Hyderabad and a few other cities in India soon but only if it makes economic sense,” Chandrasena said.

At present, SriLankan flies to 10 cities in India. He said the airline is also talking to Jet Airways for a possible code sharing arrangement and the same airline is also being wooed by OneWorld to join its alliance.

Code share allows both the airlines to expand destinations without having to duplicate flights. For SriLankan, joining the OneWorld alliance not only means connecting to nearly 1,000 destinations, but it also opens up several avenues for reducing costs as well as increasing its revenues. For example, the airline can save costs by joining other partners to make bulk purchase of aviation turbine fuel through alliance tie-ups.

SriLankan received clearance from OneWorld to join its alliance only after the airline successfully completed a full review of its readiness conducted by Cathay Pacific which sponsored its entry into the alliance. The OneWorld implementation programme covered almost 20 streams of activity.

Bruce Ashby, CEO of OneWorld said with the addition of SriLankan, the alliance completes its biggest expansion drive since it came into being 15 years ago. OneWorld members now carry 500 million passengers with daily departures of 14,250.

It also allows 180 million cardholders of frequent flyer programmes to earn and redeem rewards throughout the network apart from giving them access to over 600 airport lounges.

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Published on April 30, 2014
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