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 would 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. (Colombo Gazette)