SriLankan Airlines joins the oneworld airline alliance today, becoming the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any major airline.
This means that, as of today, you can use your Avios points to book redemption flights on SriLankan. Although, to be honest, I wouldn’t be 100% certain that ba.com can handle it immediately. It is still having problems with accurate TAM availability a month after they joined …..
SriLankan is not a large airline, operating just 21 aircraft to 20 countries from Colombo (below). It carried 4.7m passengers in 2013. It only adds two new cities to oneworld – Hambantota and Tiruchirapalli in India.
Routes include Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo, so it will open up opportunities for getting around Asia. There are also a number of flights to and from India and the Middle East.
Importantly, Colombo is also a key stopping off point for the Maldives, with Colombo being just an hour or so from Male. This opens up yet another potential redemption routing from London, and adds to the new Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines options that opened up when they joined oneworld. Colombo to Male would be just 4,500 Avios each way.
SriLankan also runs a number of flights out of Bangkok, heading to Shanghai, Beijing (these two are ending soon), Hong Kong and Gaungzhou. There is also a Tokyo to Male route.
British Airways resumed its own flights to Colombo last year after a number of years, tagging it onto the end of three existing flights to the Maldives each week.
Great Circle Mapper shows that London to Colombo is 5,405 miles – 100 miles further than Maldives. This is good news (as long as BA agrees with this number!) as it puts it right on the edge of the ‘4,000 – 5,500 miles’ pricing zone. This means that flights will be 100,000 Avios return in Club World and 150,000 return in First.