The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka invites One World Alliance members to use Hambantota airport


SriLankan Airlines last week joined the One World Alliance, the mega airlines’ alliance for the world’s frequent travellers, and now has asked the grouping to seriously considering using the upcoming international airport at Mattala, Hambantota. At a media briefing held in Colombo last week to announce SriLankan joining the OneWorld, Nishantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman, SriLankan Airlines made the offer assuring that the travellers to Mattala would have the advantage of seeing the world’s largest mammals – elephants and whales – which are a few hours away.

OneWorld brings together some of the best names in the airline business such as Airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Quantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines and around 20 affiliates. Malaysian Airlines is on track to join later in 2012 while SriLankan will follow in 2013. Mr Wickramasinghe said that few miles away in close proximity to this airport lies a forest reserve park and miles of virgin beaches. He said that while joining OneWorld, SriLankan Airlines is bound to improve in quality as quality improvement is automatic to keep up to the high standards of OneWorld and with these improvements Mr Wickramasinghe said that the existing fleet of 21 aircraft would be further increased. Bruce Ashby, CEO, OneWorld said that any airlines joining OneWorld would be the biggest project that the airline would ever undertake, impacting virtually every area of their business and supported by one of their most extensive communications programmes.

He said that there is a criteria to follow to join OneWorld and it would take around 18 months to go through the whole process adjusting certain areas to meet the quality standards of OneWorld. There are 13 airlines attached to OneWorld serving more than 860 destinations in 150 countries, operating a combined fleet of almost 2,500 aircraft making some 9,000 flights� and carrying almost a million passengers every day, generating an annual revenue of more than US$ 100 billion.

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