SriLankan Airlines will begin daily direct flights between Melbourne and Colombo from October 29.
As previously reported by Australian Business Traveller, this marks a long-awaited return to Australian skies by the Oneworld airline and de facto Qantas partner and the only direct route from Australia to Sri Lanka.
Victoria is home to 50 per cent of Australia’s Sri Lankan population, according to the 2011 Australian census.
Here's the schedule for SriLankan's Melbourne-Colombo flights:
- Flight UL605 departs Melbourne at 4.55pm to reach Colombo's Bandaranaike International airport at 10.15pm
- Flight UL604 departs Colombo at 11.50pm to arrive into Melbourne at 3.25pm the following day
The flights will run on an Airbus A330-200 jet with 18 lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 arrangement:
However, a spokesperson for SriLankan Airlines tells Australian Business Traveller "it's likely the A330-300 will be utilized as well in operations."
This will be a definite upgrade for travellers, with 28 modern business class seats similar to those of Cathay Pacific in a more convenient 1-2-1 layout:
PREVIOUS [May 1, 2016] | EXCLUSIVE | SriLankan Airlines will begin flying between Melbourne and Colombo towards the end of this year, marking the airline's long-awaited return to Australian skies.
A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan flag-carrier – which many years ago abandoned flights to both Sydney and Melbourne – indicated to Australian Business Traveller that the schedule could see four flights each week, using an Airbus A330 jet fitted with lie-flat business class seats to make the 11 hour journey.
This will be the only direct route from Australia to Sri Lanka – most travellers to the tiny island off the southern tip of India transit via Singapore, with onwards flights provided by SriLankan and Singapore Airlines.
Business class travellers and passengers holding the appropriate Qantas Frequent Flyer status will be able to use Qantas' Melbourne lounges, including the Qantas First Lounge for Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members.
Reciprocal access will see FlySmiles Gold members eligible to use the Qantas Business Lounge, while FlySmiles Platinums can luxe it up in the Qantas First Lounge.
Travellers will also have the option of pocketing frequent flyer miles in SriLankan's FlySmiles scheme or the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
Earlier this week Australia's International Air Services Commission renewed limited codeshare agreements between Qantas, Emirates and SriLankan Airlines for flights to Colombo via Singapore, and between Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines for flights to Colombo via Singapore.