A couple hundred years ago the British Empire ruled over many a far-flung spot of land. One such area, a small island off the coast of India, was Ceylon, an incredibly beautiful chunk of land which also happened to be prime real estate for growing tea. After World War II the Brits lost the land and the country of Sri Lanka was born. For a while after that Sri Lanka was connected back to the motherland through air service on BOAC/British Airways, but in recent years that service has been missing. Well, now it is back. British Airways will be extending their current service between London‘s Gatwick airport and Male, Maldives to also serve Colombo, Sri Lanka starting at the end of March 2013. The carrier will not have rights to carry local traffic on the Male – Colombo segment.
This move makes a certain amount of sense considering that SriLankan has committed to joining the oneworld alliance in the near future. Adding connectivity between the alliance carrier hubs makes for easier connections and better service for customers. At the same time, the lack of local traffic rights and the relatively remote destination do raise some concerns regarding just how successful the service can be.
For folks holding frequent flyer points in oneworld-member programs this opens up a new way to get to Sri Lanka, though access via connections in SE Asia are likely to remain the more convenient and available for most folks, though certainly having the extra option is nice. Oh, and it is service from Gatwick, not Heathrow, meaning many connections will suck pretty badly, requiring an airport chance in London. Still, more options are always better.
And for folks wondering why I even care, it is because Sri Lanka is an AWESOME destination. We were there for a week last year at New Years and absolutely loved it. Absolutely beautiful, especially up in tea country. Highly recommended.
Oh, and I might have messed up the history a little bit, but it is darn close.
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