Archive for January, 2015

Emirates tops global customer review study


Emirates airline has been ranked as the Best Airline in 2014, according to an annual study by eDreams, one of the largest e-commerce travel companies in Europe.

Customers worldwide have spoken and Emirates airline has been ranked as the Best Airline in 2014, according to an annual study by eDreams, one of the largest e-commerce travel companies in Europe.

The annual study of best airlines consisted of over 90,000 customer reviews from all over the world. Travellers that booked on the site weighed in through their own reviews on best airlines, best entertainment options, baggage handling and modernity of aircraft, among other categories. Emirates swept most of the categories with an overall rating of 4.24 out of the top score of 5. Emirates also ranked highest in overall cleanliness and modernity of aircraft and also received the highest ratings for best in-flight entertainment, best flight attendant service, best VIP lounges and best baggage handling.

Commenting on the results, Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates airline said: “Being acknowledged by our customers for the hard work and investments that go into our product and positive service attitude both in the air and on the ground, is the most important recognition we can receive. We served 47 million customers in 2014 and are always looking for ways to enhance the travel experience, from the destination options and global connections that we offer, to our onboard services and worldwide network of dedicated lounges on the ground. We are committed to continuing to provide our customers with an unparalleled level of service across all categories.”

Find out more about the results of the eDreams study and interactive infographic on airline rankings below.

The top rankings further validate Emirates’ leadership in product and service innovations. The airline has invested billions in the customer experience to enhance the technology on-board for its customers, including the introduction of free WI-FI on its fleet of 57 A380 aircraft and a number of Boeing 777 aircraft, with the aim of eventually offering free Wi-Fi across its fleet. Emirates has also implemented continuous upgrades to its industry leading ice entertainment system, which now offers an outstanding choice of up to 2,000 channels of entertainment across all classes, including over 400 movies from around the world.

Emirates has been, and continues to be, a leader in redefining air travel, working closely with manufacturers and suppliers to ensure all aspects of the customer experience are second to none. Among these innovations are the exclusive Onboard Lounge and two Onboard Shower Spas in its premium cabins on the industry leading double-decker A380. The airline is the world’s largest operator of the wide body A380 and Boeing 777 family of aircraft.

Customers in all cabins enjoy gourmet meals and seamless transfers through Emirates’ state of the art Dubai hub, which was also voted as one of the best global airports in the same 2014 study by eDreams.

With a fleet of 231 aircraft, Emirates currently flies to 147 destinations in 83 countries.



Mihin Lanka undertakes pilot training for international airlines


Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama, Chief Pilot Training and Standards, Mihin Lanka.

Mihin Lanka, Sri Lanka’s leading low-cost carrier which is owned by the Sri Lankan government has launched an international pilot training programme to meet the growing demands of the aviation industry in the region. The new venture will enable Mihin Lanka to train inexperienced A320 type rated pilots from other international airlines, and provide them with on-the-job training delivered by Mihin Lanka’s most senior flight instructors.

Commenting on the initiative, Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama, Chief Pilot Training and Standards, Mihin Lanka stated, “Today most of the airlines in the Indian subcontinent are struggling to meet the demand for well-trained first officers. Therefore, we decided to use our resources to train pilots regardless of their nationality without making changes to our own local pilot training programmes. Most of the candidates who seek our training have already been offered employment with airlines in their respective countries. Due to the significant growth in the industry, combined with the shortage of qualified and experienced instructors, most of these airlines find it difficult to conduct in-house training for their first officers.

Abeywickrama further added, “Our training pilots (instructors) are relatively free between the line training programmes we normally have for our first officers. Therefore Mihin Lanka decided that it was feasible to train third party pilots in between our own training programmes. These third party trainee pilots undergo a series of evaluations before being inducted into the line training programme. They have to first convince our training management of their capabilities at an interview and at asimulator based evaluation. Once they’re successful, we further expose them to our airline orientations which include a series of ground classes. Thereafter, Mihin Lanka’s in-house instructors and examiners will train the pilots and bring them to the national and international aviation standards that are required by both Mihin Lanka and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. The training will be conducted at Sri Lankan Airlines’ simulator training facility and pilots who are selected will receive additional line training. They will also have the opportunity to work closely with and learn from Mihin Lanka’s most senior flight instructors.”

Also commenting on the new initiative, Capt. Pujitha Jayakody, Director Flight Operations, Mihin Lanka said, “As one of the leading low-cost carriers in the region, Mihin Lanka has introduced this international training programme to meet an important need of our time. Mihin Lanka has trained up to 60 pilots in the last three years in various capacities. These includefirst officers, captains and instructors. As a small yet determined airline, Mihin Lanka is proud to be contributing towards the growth and development of the local and regional aviation industry. We are also proud to say that many of the pilots we have trained, have been employed by a variety of leading international carriers including Etihad, Air Arabia in the Middle East, SriLankan Airlines, Singapore based Tiger Airways, VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines. At present we are contracted by a third party to train first officers for the Indian mega carrier Indigo Airlines. There is at present a high demand for our training services however we have only been able to accommodate a few airlines due to our limited resources.”

Also commenting on the new training programme for international pilots, Nishantha Ranatunga, Chairman / CEO, Mihin Lanka stated, “I am very pleased to see how our operations team is helping to further build the image and reputation of Mihin Lanka in the region. These innovative training programmes also help us to meet our financial targets. I also admire the dedication of our instructors and captains who are helping many young pilots fulfil their dreamsof a career in aviation. The high standards maintained by the Civil Aviation Authorities are remarkable and renowned throughout the region. Many leading airlines with bigger fleets have entrusted us with the training of their pilots, showing that they have complete confidence in our world-class training capabilities.”

Mihin Lanka is a leading low-cost airline in South Asia that operates across many destinations in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and South East Asia. Since its launch in 2007, Mihin Lanka has come a long way, becoming one of the region’s most admired affordable travel brands. The airline strives to maintain the highest standards and is the only low-cost airline which provides a complimentary on-board meal and a free checked-in baggage allowance.  Focused on delivering the best to its customers, Mihin Lanka continuously adapts to passenger needs, in order to further fulfil its mission of being the leading low-cost airline in the region.


SLT launches Calendar 2015 – Corals of Sri Lanka

article_imageSri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the national ICT solutions provider and a responsible corporate citizen, adjudged as being amongst the top ten corporate citizens in Sri Lanka, launched its much awaited calendar and complimentary items for the year 2015 under the theme “Corals of Sri Lanka“. This follows the arts, culture and environmental/biological diversity themes which have been brought to life on a n annual basis since 2003.

The main aim of this year’s calendar and complimentary items project, conducted under the company’s ongoing CSR initiative “preserving heritage for tomorrow” is to raise awareness amongst the public about the importance of coral reefs to Sri Lanka which goes far beyond beauty and aesthetics, to ensuring a balanced ecosystem, preventing coastal erosion and even to the extent of providing important medicinal compounds. One of the other most important aspects of coral reefs is also contributing to food security. Thus, ensuring the continuity of these species for the wellbeing of future generations is crucial.

Coral reefs are one of the most biologically rich and economically valuable ecosystems found on earth, and habitation to thousands of different species where a single reef can be inhabited by over 3000 different species. In Sri Lanka, coral reefs are valuable resources especially for coastal communities where fishing has been one of the main forms of livelihood for years. Thus, coral reefs also support industries such as fisheries as well as tourism. Apart from this, coral reefs also support thousands of other organisms that both live and feed on the reefs, some of which possess medicinally important compounds. Furthermore, coral reefs help to confront natural disasters such as tsunamis. This was researched and proven to be true after the Tsunami of 2004, where studies showed that areas where the coral reefs were damaged experienced much higher waves and greater damage inland than areas where the coral reefs were intact.


SriLankan Airlines completes IATA Environmental Assessment

Taking forward the green legacy of the national carrier, SriLankan successfully completed the International Air Transport Association’s Environment Assessment (IEnvA) Program Stage 01 Assessment. SriLankan has completed the first of two stages of assessments alongside some other prominent international carriers including, Icelandair and Qatar Airways. South African Airways and Finnair have also recently completed the second and final assessments stage of the IEnvA Program.

SriLankan Airlines Head of Human Resources and the Convenor of the Green Team, Pradeepa Kekulawala said, “As the national carrier of Sri Lanka, that has been promoting the county’s natural beauty worldwide, we have been fully aware of our responsibility towards environment; this has driven us to involve ourselves in sustainable practices thereby contributing to conservation. The Green Team of SriLankan Airlines has been implementing many projects on carbon mitigation and waste management. We are proud that SriLankan Airlines has completed the IEnvA stage 1 Assessment, which goes to show our dedication towards environment as an airline, and the passengers who fly with us can take pride in the fact that they become contributors to conservation through their choice of airline.”

“These airlines are among the pioneers in this critical new program. IATA’s audits and assessment schemes are impartial, independent evaluations designed to improve industry performance against global benchmarks. The IATA Operational Safety Audit has done much to help improve airline safety and we expect that the IEnvA will do likewise for environmental standards” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director-General and CEO.

IEnvA has been developed in conjunction with airlines so that it addresses industry needs and specific concerns. IEnvA assesses environmental performance against sustainability standards across a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited to) the management of air quality and emissions, noise, fuel consumption and operational efficiency, recycling, energy efficiency, sustainable procurement, and biofuel utilization. Further this evaluation system is designed to independently assess and improve the environmental management of an airline and as a voluntary programme IEnvA helps airlines to simplify regulatory compliance, demonstrate good governance and achieve financial savings from the better use of resources.

SriLankan Airlines, Environmental Compliance and Planning Manager, Mr. Dhanushka de Silva said, “This is a proud moment for SriLankan Airlines when the  Airline’s Environment Strategic and Compliance unit achieves a great milestone in terms of environmental standards and regulatory compliances. This signifies our team effort and commitment to organise and structure our operational processes according to the International environmental standards.”


Aitken Spence Hotels bags Gold once again at the 50th CA Annual Report Awards


Susith Jayawickrema, Managing Director & Tilak Gunawardana, Vice President, Finance accepting the award & certification

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC emerged victorious once again walking away with the Gold Award in the Hospitality Sector category at the prestigious of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards.

The golden jubilee of the annual report awards was held recently at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The competition which covers 22 sectors from small business categories such as NGOs, clubs, associations to large conglomerates had a total of 130 organisations submit their annual reports for the coveted awards this year.

The annual competition formulated to encourage transparency and accountability in financial reporting in the corporate sector recognizes companies which have demonstrated excellence in transparency, accountability and good governance via their annual reports. The evaluations were conducted under a stringent three stage system where the shortlisted reports were subjected to an industry expert panel review; the reports selected for the final stage were evaluated by a final panel of judge’s chaired the Central Bank Governor.

Sustainability, transparency and accountability are stringently practiced at Aitken Spence Hotels and winning this accolade provides a clear indication on its commitment to report on its economic, social and environmental impacts. “We see corporate sustainability as part of our core business strategy and ensure that our commitment is filtered down to every operation. This commendation reflects Aitken Spence Hotels’ track record of commitment to corporate accountability and championing sustainable tourism by producing industry best practices. We will continue to stay committed to delivering exceptional sustainable experiences to our guests whilst continuing to our stringent practices in corporate governance”, said Susith Jayawickrama, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.


Mihin Lanka continues to delight passengers

Mihin Lanka, Sri Lanka’s national low-cost carrier has continuously exceeded passenger expectations and has provided its passengers with a comfortable flying experience as well as value for money. This year, the airline expanded its flight operations to the Seychelles by providing three weekly flights to the islands. Many passengers including Imalka Senadhiri, have now been provided with a quick and convenient flight route to the Seychelles.


Imalka Senadhira was born in Sri Lanka but currently resides in the United States. She travels to many destinations around the world on a regular basis and has flown a variety of leading airlines. She recently needed to increase her travel to the Seychelles after her husband was posted there on work. Since Mihin Lanka introduced a direct flight from Colombo to Mahe, she and her daughter have added trips to Sri Lanka into their travel itinerary and visit the Seychelles two to three times a year.

Commenting on why she prefers to fly Mihin Lanka, Imalka Senadhira stated, “Whenever I take a short haul flight to an Asian destination, I always try my best to fly with Mihin Lanka. The airline is renowned for its punctuality and is extremely reliable where safety and punctuality is concerned..The on-board service is also extremely efficient and the cabin crew is very helpful and hospitable. Mihin Lanka consistently attends to all the needs of all passengers and goes out of their way to ensure that each and every passenger has a comfortable and pleasant flying experience.”

Highlighting Mihin Lanka’s commitment to hospitality and high standards of service, Senadhira stated, “When I first boarded Mihin Lanka, I was deeply impressed with the traditional Sri Lankan hospitality and warmth of the crew members. Each time I visit Sri Lanka and fly Mihin Lanka, I feel closer to my roots and cultural heritage. I feel at home when I fly Mihin Lanka and I love the Sri Lankan spirit that I experience on-board each flight. The high standards of seamless service we experienced from thetime we purchased our ticket to the time we disembarked in Seychelleshas beenimpressiveand memorable..”

Sharing a memorable moment she has experienced on-board Mihin Lanka, Senadhira stated, “Another reason I loyally fly Mihin Lanka, is because they provided my daughter with an incredible experience on her first solo flight. My daughter has a hearing impairment and I have always been scared of letting her fly alone. We wanted to slowly get her used to flying on her own, so we decided to let her enjoy her maiden flight on-board Mihin Lanka. The high quality service and reassurance that the crew and ground staff offered her was truly amazing. I have flown many different airlines and I’m not sure that she would have received such high levels of support and personalised assistance on any other airline. We will always be thankful for Mihin Lanka for providing our daughter with a great first flight experience; we trusted Mihinand they did a fantastic job of looking after her.”


Say Hello to new adventures in 2015 with Emirates


Emirates is making it even more attractive for globalistas travelling from Sri Lanka to say “hello” to new destinations and experiences in 2015 with its offer of special fares to a wide range of cities across six continents.

Bookings have to be made between 12th to 31st January, for travel between 22nd January and 30th November 2015.

“Many people make travel resolutions for the New Year, and as a global connector of people and places, we’d love to help our customers fulfil their travel aspirations,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

“Emirates offers a great network of global destinations, a great flying experience, and now for a limited time, great special fares. Whether it is to explore a new city, try out a new experience, or just making that long-promised visit to friends and family, there is never a better time to make those travel plans a reality with Emirates. We look forward to welcoming more customers, whether avid fans or first time flyers, on board our flagship A380 as we continue to add A380 services across our network.”

All inclusive Economy Class fares start at Rs 26,961 to destinations in Asia, at Rs 72,207 to Europe, Rs 43,957 to the Middle East, and Rs 121,002 to the Americas. Business Class fares start from Rs 57,345 to Asia, Rs 250,325 to Europe, Rs 101,957 to the Middle East, and Rs 349,312 to the Americas.