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During 1998, the Sri Lankan authorities and the Emirates concluded a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding on a ten-year long term strategy to develop a sustainable and sustainable Sri Lankan economy. Under the terms of the contract, the company was entitled to handle all airplane operations and provide carrier meals at Bandaranaike International Airport for a ten-year term. At 60%, the coalition kept the controlling interest in the carrier, but gave Emirates full ownership of investment and managerial decision-making.
In the same year, Air Lanka was renamed SriLankan Airlines. A decade later, when the treaty ended, Mr Emirates told the Sri Lankan government that it would not extend its senior executive engagement. In 2010, the company completed the sale of its interest in SriLankan Airlines to the Government of Sri Lanka.
All connections between Emirates and SriLankan Airlines have now been formally terminated. In addition, it turned out that the Sri Lankan government was striving for greater oversight over the day-to-day running of the carrier. SriLankan Airlines did, however, continue to use its renamed name and logotype after the end of its relationship with Emirates. SriLankan Airlines subsequently transferred title and chose to advertise Colombo as a gateway for Asian destinations.
In 2012 it was proclaimed that SriLankan Airlines will participate as an member of IATA World Air Transport Summit in Beijing. Cathay Pacific supported Sri Lankan Airlines as a donor to the alliances programme. SriLankan Airlines was the first airline from the subcontinent of India to formally join the SriLankan Airlines online airline network on May 1, 2014.
SriLankan Airlines is able to extend its flight path with this on-eworld®-affiliation. Today, the carrier is able to offer comfortable links to its 100 destination worldwide routes in 47 states. In the same year, SriLankan Airlines began renewing and expanding its aircraft with the purchase of Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft.
In January 2016, the carrier discontinued its last Airbus A340-300 with its last regular service from Chennai to Colombo. SriLankan Airlines purchased Mihin Lanka, a low-fare recreational carrier also belonging to the Sri Lankan Executive, in 2016. SriLankan Airlines took over the A319-132 from Mihin Lanka and two entities from the A321-231.
Today SriLankan Airlines is operating the 11 Mihin Lanka airways including Jakarta, Dhaka, Lahore, Bahrain, Varanasi, Gaya, Madurai, Seychelles, Sharjah, Calcutta and Gan. As for SriLankan Airlines' original paintwork, initially one could see reds streaks on a blank hull, with the cock being a strong reddish colour and the company emblem being a stylised vapana commonly known as "dandu monrara", the aircraft of the mythic Ravana kings.
It has been the airline's image for almost two decennia, from 1979 to 1998. Immediately after SriLankan Airlines entered into a 10-year relationship with Emirates, the paint was transformed into a much easier looking emblem, with a pure pink hull bearing the company emblem and the company's own emblem on the stern.
In May 2014, however, when SriLankan Airlines became a member of oneworld®, an Airbus A330 in a custom painted version of one of the airlines was shipped to remind the public of the airline's founding as a member of the Group. It currently has an Airbus portfolio of 23 state-of-the-art and demanding jets, including Airbus A330-300, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A320/A321 and Airbus A320neo.
SriLankan Airlines also provides several freight services to Male, the Middle East and India with a McDonnel Douglas MD-80 from FitsAir.