Touching down at 3.17pm ahead of its scheduled 3.25pm, the inaugural flight UL604 carried
a host of Sri Lankan dignitaries, including Sri Lankan State Minister for State Enterprise and
Development, the Hon. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Mr. Ajith
Dias, SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte, and internationally renowned Sri
Lankan cricketers, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena.
The delegation that welcomed UL604 included Melbourne Airport’s Chief of Aviation, Simon
Gandy and Invest Victoria Senior Investment Manager, Nigel Aldons.
The highly anticipated 10-hour flight service will provide an unprecedented level of
convenience and comfort not only to the Sri Lankans residing in Victoria but also to Australian
travellers expecting to explore Sri Lanka and beyond.
SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte said “We're excited to be connecting
Melbourne and Colombo like never before. Australia is home to one of the largest Sri Lankan
expatriate communities, many of whom reside in and around Melbourne, and our two countries
share many interests and passions – making for a rich, cultural exchange in the way of tourism
and trade,” Capt. Ratwatte said.
SriLankan Airlines Manager Australia and New Zealand, Sanjeeva Jayatileke said the new
direct connectivity is in view of the steady increase in passengers travelling between Colombo
and Melbourne via various Asian connection points such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
“Aussies are known for their love of bespoke travel and in recent years, Sri Lanka has gathered
attention and interest as one of Asia’s most authentic cultural destinations.
“Tens of thousands of Australians flock to Sri Lanka and the Maldives each year, whether
that’s to visit friends and family, on business, or to experience some of the world’s most
beautiful beaches, best surf breaks and untouched wilderness.
Adding to the appeal of the country’s eternal summer, Sri Lanka’s top attractions include iconic
tea plantations, ancient kingdoms and stunning colonial architecture. Wildlife is also in
abundance, with Yala National Park boasting the highest population density of leopards in the
world and Sri Lanka ranking as one of the most likely destinations to spot a majestic blue
The new non-stop service will also solidify Colombo’s position as a vibrant gateway city, for
travellers seeking onward connectivity. SriLankan Airlines currently connects to 14 Indian
points with over 120 flights a week, the highest number of Indian destinations served by any
international carrier, and over sixty weekly flights to and from nine Middle Eastern destinations.
The Airline also offers connectivity to popular holiday destinations such as the Seychelles,
and Malé & Gan Island in the Maldives.
“As the national carrier of Sri Lanka, we look forward to providing our award-winning service,
delivered with world-renowned Sri Lankan warmth and hospitality, as Australians travel to Sri
Lanka, India, the Maldives and beyond,” continued Mr. Jayatileke.
Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Simon Gandy said he is delighted to welcome SriLankan
Airlines to the Melbourne Airport family.
“We are thrilled to launch SriLankan Airlines daily non-stop service between Melbourne and
Colombo adding much-needed capacity into such a key route.
“Thanks to SriLankan Airlines we are able to better connect family and friends through this
direct, non-stop service. With so many cultural experiences to choose from in Sri Lanka, we’re
confident the route is going to be a busy one with tourists as well,” said Mr. Gandy.
SriLankan Airlines’ daily service from Melbourne to Colombo will operate on an Airbus A330-
200 departing at 4:55pm (local time) each day, which includes 18 Business Class seats and
251 Economy Class seats.
All SriLankan Airlines flights include a dedicated childcare stewardess, comfortable seating,
entertainment options and a calming ambience.
Media Release - End