A home in the sky

Friday, 9 December 2011 01:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • SriLankan takes wing with new luxury refurbishment today

 By Cheranka Mendis

The first fully-refurbished aircraft A 330 of SriLankan Airlines takes wing today, giving passengers of UL 312 to Singapore a unique taste of hospitality.

Flatbed seats were introduced to SriLankan Airlines’ Business Class of aircraft A 330 and A340 yesterday – Pic by Daminda Harsha Perera

The airline, which has embarked on a complete transformation of its cabin interiors on its entire fleet, hopes to finish two more by the end of the year and eight by June 2012. The total upgrade investment for six of the aircraft is US$ 15 million.

The new look has a subtle and traditional Sri Lankan aura with its plush interiors and a new state-of-the-art entertainment system. Flatbed seats have been introduced to the Business Class of aircraft A 330 and A340.

SriLankan Airlines CEO Kapila Chandrasena stated that the transformation process of the fleet started two-and-a-half years ago. The actual implementation of the new seats, entertainment system and the interior decorating however was completed within three weeks by the airline’s engineers.

“We believe that along with the new transformation and the in-house hospitality services, SriLankan will now be able to compete neck-to-neck with other airlines in the region.

The modernised fleet will add competitiveness to the airline and will help in attracting more tourists to the country,” Chandrasena said.

With the aim of creating the ambiance of a ‘Sri Lankan home in the sky,’ the cabins have been upgraded according to designs by two local teams, Team Architrave led by Architect Madhura Premathileke and Orient Design led by CEO Gihan Nanayakkara.

The intentions behind the principal designs have been to give passengers a contemporary yet uniquely local experience, creating a setting for cabin staff in their new uniforms, expanding visual spaciousness and creating a soothing and relaxing ambience.

Every item in the cabin interior has been specially designed and manufactured by international and local companies. The comfortable flatbed seats have been developed by AVIO Interiors in Italy and are covered with earthy terracotta coloured premium quality soft leather, in a deep rust tone and are fitted with individual in-seat massage units and a pneumatic lumbar support system for comfort.

The flat seat is essentially one that offers passengers the dual option of working at leisure and sleeping in comfort. It has a ‘buddy seat’ in front, which enables another to sit opposite and engage in a discussion or even an in-flight meeting.

Fitted with individual power adapters for laptop charging, one can work in comfort on this ‘buddy’ seat, which also doubles up as a stool for propping up one’s feet, for added comfort.

When the seat is fully reclined into a flatbed position, it extends its full length up to the ‘buddy’ seat, thus making it a firm full length bed in 180° position, with a seat pitch extending 79 inches.

Creating absolute privacy at 30,000 feet up in the skies, seats can also be separated with a screen, which can be closed by either passenger, when so desired. The seats seamlessly combine the work-relax-sleep experience on board.

SriLankan Airlines holds license under the European Aviation Safety Agency to do maintenance and renovation for aircrafts in the EU. Accordingly, all refurbishment has been done locally.

With a staff of some 500 engineers, the airline also carries out maintenance work for several other airlines including Emirates, Indigo and Kingfisher.