SriLankan Airlines says it will begin flights between Sydney and Colombo in 2020, complementing the current daily Melbourne-Colombo service, while also upgrading the business class of its Airbus A320neo-family jets for premium passengers connecting through to Asia.
The Oneworld member flagged its intentions as part of a 'business turnaround plan' released overnight, while noting its work to reverse a trend of rising expenses and reduced income.
"The airline will expand its presence in the important Australian market by commencing operations to Sydney next year and further strengthen its position as the largest foreign carrier in India with the launch of services to Ahmedabad," the airline said in a statement.
"SriLankan also intends to stretch its wings in Southeast Asia with a new service to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam, while plans to return to Frankfurt, Paris and other earlier destinations continue to be under consideration."
Also on the cards for 2020: "revamping of the business class product and service, improved ranges of meals and beverages, and plans to introduce more comfortable seating in the business class cabins of the narrow-body fleet including the NEO aircraft serving the Far East."
Travellers on the 10 hour journey between Sydney and Colombo can expect updated Airbus A330-300 jets featuring the airline's newest business class seats, with fully-flat beds and direct aisle access for every traveller.
This is the same business class seat as most notably flown by Cathay Pacific, with passengers also able to tap into inflight WiFi at US$8 for one hour, US$15 for three hours or US$25 for unlimited time and data across the entire flight.
As a Oneworld member, SriLankan offers perks such as priority check-in and boarding, lounge access and an increased luggage allowance to Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyers – including Qantas Platinums and Golds – as equivalents to its FlySmiLes Platinum and Gold tiers.
Qantas Frequent Flyers will also be able to pocket a small serve of points and status credits on eligible SriLankan Airlines fares and redeem their points on SriLankan flights.