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History of SriLankan Airlines


- Established by the Government of Sri Lanka in July, 1979, following the closure of Air Ceylon, Air Lanka initially operated two Boeing 707 jets on lease from Singapore Airlines.

- During the 1980s, various destinations were added to the network, and new aircraft were added to the fleet.

- In 1990, Air Lanka served 26 destinations.

- Two years later, the first Airbus A320 aircraft joined the fleet.

- In 1998, Air Lanka was privatized to the Dubai based Emirates Group. Emirates got a 40% stake worth US$70 million, later increased to 43.6% in Air Lanka, and tried to refurbish the airline's image and fleet, abandoning the Air Lanka brand and launching SriLankan Airlines.

- In the following two years, six Airbus A330-200s were added to the fleet, and the existing A340s were upgraded to a two-class configuration (Business and Economy Class).

- In late July, 2001, a terrorist attack on the Bandaranaike Airport disabled half of SriLankan Airlines' fleet (3 aircraft destroyed, and 3 badly damaged), which had 12 aircraft in use.

- In the following years, SriLankan Airlines recovered and continued expanding its operations in the area, becoming the largest foreign air carrier flying to India, with 100 weekly flights to 11 destinations.

- In 2008, the Government of Sri Lanka chose to discontinue the management contract with Emirates Airlines, and the new management managed to push the airline downhill, selling six aircraft in just a year to earn money.

- Currently, the airline has over 5,000 employees, operating regular flights to 45 destinations in 25 countries in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Far East.

- The only deadly incident involving SriLankan Airlines occurred in early May, 1986, when a bomb planted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam exploded before take off of a a Lockheed L-1011 'Tristar' and killed 21 of the 148 people on board.