National carrier SriLankan Airlines (UL) has become the first carrier from the Indian sub-continent to join the oneworld alliance of airlines. The carrier joins Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordian Airlines and Qatar Airways from Asia, Australia’s Qantas, airberlin, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and S7 Airlines from Europe, American Airlines and US Airways from the USA, and LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines from South American.
Key government ministers witnessed the unveiling of the first SriLankan aircraft in oneworld livery, an Airbus A330 4R-ALC, at a joining ceremony at Colombo’s new airport, Mattala Rajapaksa airport at Hambantota. SriLankan’s first flight as part of oneworld was UL318 from Colombo to Kuala Lumpur, hub of oneworld partner Malaysia Airlines, at 07:45 earlier this morning.
In addition to its home airports in SriLanka, the additional of UL adds Tiruchirapalli airport in India which is a strong hub for the airline. While we celebrate the joining of SriLankan to the oneworld family, we cannot help but feel sorry for the commentary today’s developments speak on Indian aviation. Two years ago, Kingfisher Airlines was on track to join the alliance as the first carrier from the Indian sub-continent. While SriLankan politicians focus on their civil aviation industry, their Indian counterparts look for ways to drain resources from theirs. Today India is demoted to Category 2 by the FAA for repeated violations of global safety protocols, Kingfisher is no more, Jet is all but a subsidiary of Etihad, the less said of Air India the better, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir are in a rat race for their very survival.
In the mean time, the ring-fencing of India by oneworld is complete. All our neighbours’ national airlines are members of oneworld.
Special frequent flyer miles offers
Most oneworld member airlines are offering double mileage to celebrate SriLankan’s addition to oneworld. SriLankan’s FlySmiLes members will receive double miles when flying on most oneworld partners between May 15 2014 and June 30. Members of most oneworld member airlines’ loyalty programmes will receive double mileage when flying on SriLankan during the same period. For full details, and terms and conditions, passengers should refer to their individual airlines’ frequent flyer websites.