SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, celebrated 42 years of flying across the globe. Since its inception on 1st of September 1947 as Air Ceylon, later as Air LankaSriLankan Airlines has elevated the identity of Sri Lanka across the world.
This year’s celebrations were held virtually in keeping with the health and safety guidelines of the country. A multi-religious blessing was live streamed,and employees joined the observations remotely. In addition, a pre-recorded Pirith chanting was played at the Airline’s premisesin Katunayake to invoke blessings in absence of the regular, customary overnight Pirith ceremony held in the past.
SriLankan Airlines has prevailed through times of turbulence both in the air and on ground. The Airline has persisted through a destructive civil war; countless political and economic upheavals; undulations in trade; and now the devastating effects of an ongoing pandemic. In challenging times, the Airline has always drawn strength from the resilience and commitment of its dedicated workforce.
SriLankan Airlines’ Chairman, Ashok Pathirage said, “As the Flag Carrier, SriLankan is a significant contributor to the national economy and a catalyst for our country’s tourism industry. We are grateful to our shareholder, the Government of Sri Lanka, for the financial support extended towards the Airline despite the heavy macro-economic challenges the country is facing at present. We are a very resilient organization, and I am confident that together we will steer the Airline through these challenging times. I would like to thank my Board of Directors, Management team andeach staff member of the Airline for their commitment especially during thisdaunting period. Thus,we are looking to a future where the National Carrier is empowered to continue its mission of taking Sri Lanka to the world.”
Despite the adversity faced by the Airline, the year 2021 has brought international visibility and recognition to SriLankan Airlines, by claiming the Diamond standard in the APEX global audit conducted by APEX and SimpliFlying. Additionally, winning the Best in maintaining Health at Workplace at the Asian Business Leadership Awards. SriLankan Airlines was also awarded a “Four-star rating for Major Official Airline” for 2021 by APEX at the Future Travel Experience (FTE) Virtual Expo Award ceremony and was also named the ‘World’s Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean’ at the World Travel Awards Grand Final held in Moscow for the fifth consecutive year. The Airline also added two new destinations – Nairobi (Kenya) and Moscow (Russia) to its global footprint.
Chief Executive officer of SriLankan Airlines, Vipula Gunatilleka stated, “The aviation industry has been adversely affected by the global pandemic.Nevertheless, compared with many other airlines, we have been able to steer the business successfully during these unprecedented times. The collective effort of our employees was a contributing factor to keep the Airline flying despite adversity. We continue to serve our motherland during this crisis by repatriating stranded citizens and supporting the national vaccination drive.”
Throughout the existence of the National Carrier, the Airline courageously shouldered the additional responsibility of providing smooth air services during the country’s many humanitarian efforts. While many Airlines have ceased operations to Colombo, SriLankan Airlines has continued to persevere to provide a solid air travel network for the country to depend on. The Airline is especially focused on driving the tourism industry, and has continuously marketed Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for leisure and business travel..