SriLankan to join oneworld

SriLankan, the flag carrier of the eponymous nation, is set to be announced as the newest member of the oneworld alliance at their annual meeting this week according to a report at FlightGlobal. The addition of SriLankan will increase coverage in South Asia for the alliance and will add only three new destinations, all in India, to the group’s map. As part of the efforts to join the alliance SriLankan will be adding codeshare agreements with a number of other members, including Royal Jordanian and S7. Cathay Pacific will be the sponsoring member of the alliance for the new entrant.

This move is almost certainly a positive for SriLankan as having access to the global alliance and its marketing arm offers many opportunities for the small carrier. It is less clear what the immediate benefits are to the alliance, with nearly all of the destinations covered. Providing access into India and its growing markets is a useful thing, and Colombo isn’t so horrible as an airport for connection, but it is still a rather strange way to get there.

Still, more partner options generally are a good thing for passengers and this will certainly open up a few new routes and connections within the region. Getting to Colombo or Male on awards will become quite a bit easier for oneworld partner passengers, assuming the award inventory with SriLankan is at all reasonable. And getting to Colombo easier means better access to some of the great fares originating there.

Oneworld previously was hoping that Kingfisher would be joining as a member in the region but that plan fell apart as Kingfisher did similarly. And adding SriLankan doesn’t really address the same coverage area at all, though there is minimal overlap.

And, yes, they really do spell the carrier name SriLankan and not Sri Lankan. I have no idea why.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. That’s good news, but why does it seem to take forever from the date of the announcement to its actual implementation. For example, it was announced over a year ago that Malaysian was had been approved for membership in OneWorld, but it’s yet to happen.

  2. I love this development !! This provides a huge avenue for Oneword redemption to MLE. Earlier options were slim pickings but now all you need to do is get to CMB and then voila !!

  3. @Stuart, MH announced they were joining OW at the IATA AGM last year – one year ago, not over a year. At the time they said “late 2012”. It is not yet “late 2012”.

    It always takes a while for an airline to join any alliance. The airline has a lot of things they need to do before they can join which can include major changes to IT systems and FF programs.

    Also, every new oneworld member to join since 2006 has had the firm joining date announced by oneworld 6 weeks ahead.

    1. The long lead-time in joining an alliance comes from a few factors. The new entrant must establish bilateral agreements with the existing carriers which takes time. There are also the IT systems integration issues which have to be worked out and tested and such. It is a rather significant undertaking and the 12-18 months lead isn’t unreasonable at all IMO.

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