SriLankan prepares 5-year plan to be among world’s best airlines

SriLankan Airlines today announced that it has formulated a new five-year Strategic Business Plan with the the aim of “returning to the ranks of the finest airlines in the sky”.

The plan, for the period 2019 – 2024, has the twin objectives of transforming SriLankan into a financially successful organisation with high brand visibility and a global reputation for excellence, while turning Sri Lanka into a strategic hub for air travel and air cargo in the Asia-Africa-Middle East region.

In a press release the Airline said that the highly detailed Strategic Business Plan is to be presented for approval to the company’s shareholder, the Government of Sri Lanka. It was formulated by the National Carrier’s new management team under Group Chief Executive Officer Vipula Gunatilleka, who was appointed in mid-2018.

The Strategic Business Plan recognizes the enormous contribution of the National Carrier to a vast number of industries in Sri Lanka, including all export, import and travel related industries; and envisages a corresponding increased contribution to the nation’s economy as the airline grows.

A key aspect of the Strategic Business Plan includes developing a route network to match customer demand and market opportunities, including new destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, the Far East and Australia, as opposed to the current limited point-to-point strategy. It also focuses on selecting a fleet that is cost effective and best matches the requirements of the route network; enhancing the customer experience by improving customer-centricity throughout the airline; adopting best practices to improve productivity; growing online sales to reach a wider market in a more cost effective manner; greater employee engagement; and implementing a competitive cost structure through a greater cost consciousness throughout the company.

The Strategic Business Plan envisages SriLankan rapidly returning to the ranks of the finest airlines in the sky in terms of its products, service, safety and punctuality. SriLankan has already won several global accolades already this year including two ‘First Stars’ and a ‘Third Star’ at the Golden City Gate Awards at ITB Berlin 2019, the world’s largest travel trade event. In 2018, SriLankan 2018 bagged the accolades of ‘World’s Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean‘, ‘Asia’s Leading Marketing Campaign‘, and ‘Asia’s Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean‘ at the World Travel Awards 2018; and a ‘First Star Campaign‘ and two ‘Second Star Campaign‘ awards at the Golden City Gate Awards at ITB Berlin 2018.

The Strategic Business Plan has taken into consideration the varied impact of a wide range of market forces that affect the global air transport industry and in particular the region’s industry, including competitors, customers, suppliers and major costs such as fuel and currency fluctuation.

The Strategic Business Plan also calls for the strengthening of the route network through codeshare partnerships and alliances, especially by optimizing opportunities with oneworld member airlines. The Airline would continue to be a catalyst for the development of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry by aligning its network with the country’s tourism strategy and carrying out joint marketing efforts with Sri Lanka Tourism.

The Strategic Business Plan also includes a new Vision, Mission and Company Values for the National Carrier; and places a suitably heavy emphasis on it becoming an airline of the digital age with the use of the most modern technology, including fast travel technology, CRM based service delivery, data security and system availability, and the automation of manual processes. A key area of focus would be staff productivity and motivation, including learning & development, harnessing talent, and employee engagement.

The Airline would also expand its use of standard operating procedures, global best practices, and re-engineering of processes. The Airline’s core products would be enhanced through schedule optimization, on time performance; enhancements to the inflight entertainment and cuisine; employee skill development and enhanced service culture; an enhanced Business Class product and cabin reconfiguration.

Service Standards are to be enhanced through a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management process that will include enhanced service levels  at all customer touch point; system driven engagement; revamping of the FlySmiLes loyalty programme; and social media interaction.

The Strategic Business Plan also focuses on digital transformation and technology adoption to transform  processes across the Airline, including expansion of direct online sales and generation of  revenue from  new digital businesses; and introduction of more digital payment options to reach new passenger segments by implementing e-wallets, online-mobile commerce and community based selling to create a digital market place.


The Strategic Business Plan also envisages increasing ancillary revenue from the Group’s sub business units and subsidiary; including SriLankan Cargo introducing innovative cargo products to boost yield, and the use of freighter operations to support cargo carriage on the SriLankan fleet; development of SriLankan Engineering as a maintenance-repair-overhaul (MRO) organisation of choice; expansion of SriLankan Ground Handling to serve regional airports; and upgrading the SriLankan Aviation College to university status together with the addition of several more international affiliations.