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 Air Ceylon

 

Air Ceylon was established by the Ceylonese government in 1947 as a state-owned company, and in the same year two L-749 were ordered for use on an international route to London. T he order was canceled and DC-4's leased from Australian National Airways operated the route from 1949 until 1953. Air Ceylon  was initially operating scheduled domestic flights using Douglas C-47 Dakota aircraft. International services with Douglas DC-4s commenced in 1949, in a co-operation with Australian National Airways, which acquired a 49 percent stake in Air Ceylon. This partnership lasted until 1953, when it was replaced by new international co-operations: In 1956 with KLM, which included the lease of two Lockheed Constellation airliners for long-haul flights, and with BOAC in 1962, allowing the launch of flights to London using the de Havilland Comet.

Air Ceylon restarted its weekly Colombo to London service in February 1956 with a L-749A leased from KLM. The aircraft carried PH- registration but was fully painted in Air Ceylon's attractive livery. The L-749A was replaced by a KLM L-1049G in November 1958. The former PH- registration was replaced by a 4R- Ceylonese registration later that year. The Super Connie was in use until November 1960 when a leased KLM L-188 replaced it.

In 1965 with DH Comet aircraft Air Ceylon was ushered in to jet age, and started services to Cairo, Singapore, Male, Karachi, Bombay, Bangkok and Bahrain. Flight of BOAC Comet's and TWA Connies' had lead to a severe drop in Air Ceylon traffic. 

Four years later came the HS Trident. Another jet aircraft came to service in 1972, Douglas DC-8. Well frequented Air Ceylon also increased its flights to European cities such as Zurich, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam. Rented to order the extended route network needs, the company briefly used aircraft such as Vickers VC-10, Convair CV-990 and Boeing B 707/720. 

From the mid-1960s, the Hawker Siddeley HS 748 became the aircraft mainly used on Air Ceylon's short-haul routes, along with the Aérospatiale Nord N 262. When the construction of Bandaranaike International Airport was completed in 1967, Air Ceylon opened its hub there. In 1972, Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) became Air Ceylon's partner, introducing French-made aircraft into the fleet. UTA ended the partnership on 31 March 1977, leaving Air Ceylon without a European aide. In 1978, Air Ceylon was shut down by the Sri Lankan government due to bankruptcy, and Air Lanka became new national carrier.
Air Ceylon was the flag carrier airline of Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon until 1972) from 1947 until 1978, when it was replaced by Air Lanka.

 

Over the years, Air Ceylon operated the following aircraft types:

Douglas DC-3

Douglas DC-4

Lockheed Constellation

Lockheed L-188 Electra

de Havilland Comet

Hawker Siddeley HS 748

Aérospatiale N 262

Convair 990 Coronado

Vickers VC10

Boeing 707 / 720

Hawker Siddeley Trident

Douglas DC-8

 

 

PROPELLER AIRCRAFT OPERATED BT AIR CEYLON

Following aircraft can be operated by ALK-VA Category 4 rated pilots for Global Charter Flights

 
Douglas DC-3 Dakota Nord Aviation N262
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 Douglas DC-4
Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation Lockheed L188 Electra
Two Engine Propeller Aircraft Four Engine Propeller Aircraft

 

JET AIRCRAFT OPERATED BT AIR CEYLON

Following aircraft can be operated by ALK-VA Category 4 rated pilots for Global Charter Flights

De Havilland Comet 4 Vickers-Armstrongs VC10

Convair 990 Coronado

Boeing B707 / 720
Douglas DC-8 Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident

 

READ ABOUT AIR CEYLON & AVIATION IN SRI LANKA

HISTORICAL CHRONICLE OF AIR CEYLON
HISTORICAL CHRONICLE OF AVIATION IN CEYLON - Page 1
HISTORICAL CHRONICLE OF AVIATION IN CEYLON - Page 2
CHRONICLE OF AVIATION IN SRI LANKA
COLOMBO AIRPORT, KATUNAYAKA - THEN & NOW
WONDERFUL WORLD OF AVIATION
PIONEERING AVIATION PERSONNEL OF CEYLON

 

 

 

1950s

During the 50s, Air Ceylon offered multiple-stopover flights, which were leaving Colombo on three routes: To Europe, to Australia, and a regional one to India. 

KLM was the important partner airline, serving as general sales agent for Air Ceylon.

Australia
  • Sydney
  • Darwin
Bahrain (British mandate)
  • Manama
Ceylon
  • Colombo (hub)
  • Jaffna
Egypt
  • Cairo
India
  • Bombay
  • Madras
  • Trichinopally
Indonesia
  • Jakarta
Israel
  • Tel Aviv
The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam
Italy
  • Rome
Pakistan
  • Karachi
Singapore (British mandate)
  • Singapore
United Kingdom
  • London

1960s

By 60s due to more modern aircraft with a longer range, fewer stops were required on the long-distance routes, reducing travel time.

Air Ceylon passengers could reach additional destinations (in Europe and towards Australia) with co-operative BOAC or Qantas flights.

Ceylon
  • Batticaloa
  • Colombo (hub)
  • Gal Oya
  • Jaffna
India
  • Bombay
  • Madras
  • Trichinapoly
Italy
  • Rome
Malaysia
  • Kuala Lumpur
Pakistan
  • Karachi
Singapore
  • Singapore
United Kingdom
  • London

1970s

The co-operation with BOAC and Qantas was reduced at that time, instead a code share-like agreement was signed with Indian Airlines.

As a consequence, Air Ceylon re-launched services to Australia and expanded its European network.

Australia
  • Sydney
France
  • Paris
India
  • Bombay
  • Madras
  • Trichiopoly
Indonesia
  • Jakarta
Italy
  • Rome
Malaysia
  • Kuala Lumpur
Maldives
  • Malé
Pakistan
  • Karachi
Singapore
  • Singapore
Sri Lanka
  • Batticaloa
  • Colombo (hub)
  • Gal Oya
  • Jaffna
  • Trincomalee
Thailand
  • Bangkok
United Kingdom
  • London

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The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.

- Mark Russell -

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