All VIPs and govt officials to travel on SriLankan Airlines

Mar 28, Colombo: With the ending of the deal with Emirates Airlines, the Sri Lankan government has taken a policy decision to use SriLankan Airlines for all foreign visits by all VIPs and government officials.

The new management of SriLankan expects to elevate it as the state airline under commercial standards. SriLankan Airlines is scheduled to launch a number of programs with its commencement under the new management on April 1, 2008.

Meanwhile, Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa has instructed the new management to take immediate measures to solve long-standing employee and salary problems. Sri Lankans traveling abroad to visit their relatives and Sri Lankans who are living abroad, returning to visit their relatives here, will be offered special concessionary rates under the news plans.

President to address SriLankan Airlines staff

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the SriLankan airline management, employees and Unions on April 3.

Minister of Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa will also attend the discussion.

A senior official of the airline said after the uncertainty created with Emirates team deciding not to renew their 10-year contract, employees now are confident that they could do an even better job than their management successor.

SriLankan Airline flight

“Employees questioned about their future but now with the Government appointing a new board comprised of experienced people there is confidence among the employees,” he said. He also said due to the stability created many are trying to get themselves recruited to the airline.

Government last week appointed Dr P B Jayasundera as Chairman with Nishantha

Wickremasinghe, Lalith De Silva and Sunil Wijesinha as Nominee Directors to represent the Government that holds 51.05 per cent shares.

Emirates Airline, which ended their management contract today, holds 43.63 per cent shares with Tim Clark, Gary Chapman and Nigel Hopkins representing them. SriLankan Airlines has scheduled to launch a number of programmes with its commencement under the new management from April 01.

An over night pirith chanting ceremony will be held in Katunayake on March 31 and the new catering service which will be starting off from April 01 has made arrangements to treat its passengers worldwide with truly Sri Lankan sweet meats on board in all SriLankan Airline flights scheduled on April 01.

Meanwhile, Port and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa has instructed the new management of SriLankan Airlines to take immediate measures to solve long awaiting employee problems and salary problems.

Sri Lankans travelling abroad to visit their relatives living there and Sri Lankans who are living abroad, returning to visit their relatives here using SriLankan Airlines will be offered special concessionary rates under news plans.

A policy decision has also been taken to use SriLankan Airlines in all foreign visits of all VIPs and Government officials as well.

The new management of SriLankan Airlines expects to elevate it as the State Airline under commercial standards.


New frequent flyer program fro "SriLankan"

SriLankan Airlines has launched ‘SmiLes’ a frequent flyer program replacing Skywards, following the withdrawal of former partner Emirates.

SmiLes will have three tiers of membership – Gold, Silver, and Blue – according to how many miles are accrued. Every mile flown with the carrier would be credited as one mile.

Members can exchange their miles for rewards such as free air tickets to in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East; and upgrades. They also have a wide range of other benefits such as pre-assigned seating and priority wait-listing.

Gold and Silver members are entitled to use the airline’s lounge at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, priority check-in, free excess baggage (up to 12 kg for Silver and 16 kg for Gold), priority baggage delivery, family bonus, and fast track facility (for Gold members).

To qualify for Silver membership passengers must earn over 25,000 miles or fly a minimum of 20 sectors within a calendar year. Gold membership is for those with more than 50,000 miles or 40 sectors within a calendar year.

Existing Skywards members have a choice of transferring their Skywards Miles to SmiLes in full or in part.


Sri Lankan Airlines redoubles efforts to bring in tourists from India

SriLankan Airlines has redoubled its efforts aimed at bringing more tourists to Sri Lanka from India, in support of the country’s tourism industry.

Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, said: “We are fully focused on our responsibility as the National Carrier to support our own tourism industry, although the airline itself has a thriving business in transit passengers travelling through our hub in Colombo.”

SriLankan’s most recent promotion in India offers discounted fares throughout the month of February for Indian travellers below the age of 27 to enjoy exciting holidays in Sri Lanka. One condition of the offer is that travellers must spend a minimum of three days in Sri Lanka. In the past, travel advisories in European countries have led to drops in arrivals from some of the island’s traditional tourism markets, although tourists have never been targeted in the country’s conflict.

The airline has invested heavily in recent years in publicising Sri Lanka as a destination in India, drawing attention to its value for money shopping, wide range of cuisine, superior hotel and convention facilities, cultural wonders, and diverse climates and landscapes.

SriLankan Airlines is the only international carrier to have 100 flights per week to India, serving 11 cities there - New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Coimbatore and Calicut. Senaka Fernando, Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent & Maldives, said: “India is the largest country of origin of tourists to Sri Lanka, having replaced our earlier traditional markets in Europe every year since 2005.”

More than 100,000 Indians visited in 2007, a number that Sri Lanka Tourism says is expected to double in the next two years.

The airline is focusing attention on the short flying time, with Colombo being only about an hour away from its six destinations in South India. It has also drawn attention to Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport as the finest in South Asia, with its new terminal, aerobridges, comfortable lounges, and well-stocked duty free shopping complex.

The airline also focuses on Indian travellers on board its flights in the region, with a wide selection of North Indian, South Indian and vegetarian dishes, and a modern entertainment system which has the latest releases from Bollywood and the Tamil filmindustry.

srilankan holidays launches “island breaks” offer for the middle east

The first in the series of special promotional offers planned for the Middle East region is the ‘Island Breaks’ offer, a three month campaign up to 30th April 2008, to visit tropical Sri Lanka.

The ‘Island Breaks’ offer from SriLankan Holidays includes airfare, star class hotel accommodation with an international buffet breakfast, for two nights and three days.

General Manager - SriLankan Holidays and MICE, Amith Sumanapala said, “We have an exciting line-up of sights and experiences to create the perfect holiday for the single traveller, a couple on a romantic getaway or an entire family.”

“Your holiday begins from the time you get onboard SriLankan Airlines and it will be a world of memories the rest of the way.”

SriLankan is also actively promoting Sri Lanka as a venue for Middle East based business to host their annual meetings and events.

“Sri Lanka is a hot spot of the meetings industry and we are already attracting a lot of interest from businesses in India, the Far East and the Middle East.”

“Most recently representatives of Dubai’s Airport Operating Committee (AOC), the individuals responsible for the smooth operation of Dubai International Airport flew here for their annual fellowship and we are happy to say they thoroughly enjoyed their island break.”

SriLankan Holidays is the leisure marketing arm of SriLankan Airlines, which operates daily flights Dubai and Abu Dhabi to its Colombo hub. Passengers transiting through Colombo can conveniently connect with SriLankan Airlines’ flights to eleven key cities in India, the Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan and Hong Kong

Daya Aviation to expand domestic operations

The Daya Air Lines the newest entrant to Daya Group of Companies under Daya Aviation (Pvt) Ltd, will purchase new air craft to strengthen their domestic operations. Group Director of Daya Group of Companies, D.T. Kingsley Bernard told Daily News Business this will be a passenger aircraft and the company has made arrangements to purchase the aircraft this year.
Since there are restrictions on traveling to Jaffna overland there is a huge demand created for air travel.
Talking about the local aviation industry Bernard said though there are number of players in the industry it is less competitive. "There is a shortage of experienced pilots and aircraft engineers in the industry.
It is important to have experienced aircraft engineers to maintain high standards in flight safety.
Not in Sri Lanka even in India industry need over 5000 pilots", he said. "Local aviation industry needs to focus on establishing pilot training schools and technical colleges for aircraft engineers. Industry has the potential of training pilots and aircraft engineers to fulfill the regional requirements.
Local aviation industry could earn a large amount of foreign exchange through this sector", he said.
Bernard said the company also expects to expand its operation to regional level. "This year we will be focusing on strengthening our domestic operations and company will have more new investments in this year", he added.
Talking about the future plans of Daya Group of Companies Bernard said they will venture into bio fertiliser business and leisure industry this year.


Mihin Lanka pulls out of three destinations

Mihin Lanka which launched flights to six destinations in South India, East Asia and the Middle East has now been compelled to reduce them to three destinations from April with flights in South India already been suspended. The two weekly flights now in operation to Bangkok will be suspended from the end of this month.

The airline now operates flights only to Singapore, Bangkok, Maldives and Dubai, a spokesperson of the flights reservation desk said.

“We do not know when the suspended flights will be resumed. The flights to Trivandrum and Trichy were suspended due to poor bookings. We have postponed our plans to start flights to several other destinations in east and west Asia,” she said.

She said there has been a sharp drop in bookings in almost all destinations since the unscheduled and abrupt landing of a Mihin Air flight in Mumbai in January due to a technical failure.

“The negative publicity received after that incident has affected the airline badly,” she said.

Civil Aviation Director General Parakrama Dissanayaka said the airline has renewed its annual “Air Operation Safety’ certificate recently as the first certificate issued at the inception would expire by the end of this month.

Mihin Lanka operates its flights with a 320 Airbus obtained on a wet lease from a Bulgarian company. The company did not use a second aircraft obtained on wet lease from Turkey last year, Mr. Dissanayaka told the Daily Mirror.

Attempts to reach Mihin Lanka Chairman Sajin Vas Gunaweardana or Head of Finance Sajeeewa Swaris failed yesterday as there was no response from the head office.

Original Artical


SriLankan makes Colombo a transit hub

SriLankan Airlines is fast turning Colombo into a hub for air travel, steadily increasing the number of passengers in transit through the island’s international airport.

Three years ago, only 28 per cent of passengers carried by SriLankan through Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) were in transit - a little over a quarter. The bulk of travellers were tourists visiting Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans returning from overseas.

Today, the number of transit passengers has more than doubled, and the total number of passengers carried by the airline has increased by a third. Nearly half of its traffic (46 per cent) is now transit passengers, a number that is continuously increasing.

“We at SriLankan take great pride in offering rapid connectivity to travellers through Colombo, in order to maximise convenience. We actively work towards minimising waiting periods which we know is one of the most annoying aspects of international air travel,” said CEO of SriLankan Peter Hill.

The rise in transit passengers has been as steady as it has been impressive, from 28 per cent in 2003/04 to 36 per cent the next year, 42 per cent in 2005/06, to the current 46 per cent.

Transit numbers remained steady at 46 per cent during the six-month period between April and September 2007, despite flight schedules being disrupted for several months due to a temporary night-time closure of BIA. With the airport now back to its 24-hour operation, the number is expected to increase.

BIA boasts of some of the most modern comforts and amenities among airports anywhere, and has a reputation as the finest in South Asia. Although it does not compare in size to the world’s major hubs, it has a new terminal with modern aerobridges, sophisticated passenger counters and baggage handling systems, and a well-stocked duty free shopping complex.

SriLankan’s business class lounge there has drawn praise from high-end travellers as being second to none.

With SriLankan having positioned Colombo as the gateway to India, a large proportion of transit passengers are flying to and from the 11 cities that the airline serves there.

SriLankan last year became the first foreign carrier to operate 100 weekly flights to India. It is a firm favourite among South Indian labour traffic to the Middle East, North Indians travelling to the Far East for leisure, and Indians domiciled overseas who are visiting their country of origin. The airline’s route network now serves 54 cities in 28 countries.

Original Artical

Pilots abandon Sri Lankan Airlines for Indian shores

After the Dubai-based carrier Emirates pulled out 43 per cent equity stake from Sri Lankan Airline, over 28 pilots whose contracts are nearing an end are up for grabs by Indian carriers.
The initial 10 year contract between the two airlines expires in April this year and will not be renewed, according to Emirates.
For the airlines in India looking to expand internationally, skilled and experienced pilots from Sri Lankan Airlines flying wide-body aircraft are more than welcome. Both the leading carriers, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, have reportedly hired from the Sri Lankan carrier.
The airlines in India do not want to come on record over the issue as “the matter is being now discussed between the governments of the two countries”, said an airline executive.
But confirming that the India-based airlines have been approached by these pilots, a source from a leading private airlines said, “At least 5-10 captains from the Sri Lankan Airlines are seeking recruitment with our airline.”
“We are seeking captains for the Airbus wide-bodies which will be put on the long-haul routes. We will get at least 10 of these aircraft this year, for which approximately 250 pilots are required,” said a Kingfisher Airlines source who did not want to be named.
Jet Airways, however, admitted that it hired Sri Lankan Airlines’ pilots earlier. “We have six ex-Sri Lankan pilots flying A330s. But they joined us quite some back,” said Jet’s CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
Even carriers in West Asia are eyeing the pilot booty. Gulf Air said, “If pilots are available and seeking employment, it is good for airlines world-wide. We are not confirming at this stage that we are recruiting from the Sri Lankan Airlines, but if capable pilots are there why not? (recruit them)."
The spokesperson for Sri Lankan Airlines from Colombo told Business Standard, “Officials in the right capacity to comment on the issue are in transit or are in foreign locales and they will not be able to make any comments.” The paper did got in touch with an official in transit, but he refused to comment.

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Lies, deceit and scams: The Sajin Vaas's Mihin lanka story

  • Confidence trickster taking 20 million Sri Lankans for a ride

  • Rs. 2 Billion in 12 months – and rising, with interest payment at Rs 1 million plus per day

  • Top Government officials unwittingly roped in and at risk

By Hawkeye
Every politician in the world needs and has assistants. Their role is simply that: to assist their principal to accomplish various goals – be it political or personal.

But the story of Sajin De Vaas Gunawardena is a phenomenally rare one. For, he has taken the friendship and gratitude of one man and abused that generosity to an extent that the political hierarchy of Sri Lanka is at grave risk.
Sajin Vaas Gunawardena’s story has brought new meaning to the words “embarrassment” and “fraud”.

Sajin Vaas has proved himself to be a habitual phony. His capabilities had much in store for him. Yet, inherently, his nature is that of a confidence trickster. He plans, from the outset, what his goal would be – that, in itself, is no bad thing. However, most successful people plan on their goal being achieved via the opportunities presented to them, opportunities they have created for themselves, in order to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

This artical was publish in The nation news paper. Click here for Full story............................... .