SriLankan Airlines gained worldwide recognition for its pioneering efforts in environmental conservation when the prestigious Business Traveller magazine ranked it second among airlines in the Asia and Asia-Pacific region for having the lowest carbon footprint.

The enormous region includes the Middle East, South Asia, the Far East and Asia-Pacific (Australasia), home to most of the world’s finest airlines.

Ajith Dias, SriLankan Airlines’ Chairman, said: “SriLankan Airlines takes great pride in being among the best corporate citizens in our country, in both the state and private sectors, especially when it comes to sustainable practices with regard to our community, our customers, and our employees.”

Business Traveller ( has given SriLankan an evaluation of 72.8, only slightly short of the 73.4 of the Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways which is in first place. Globally, SriLankan is ranked 17th.

Captain Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, said: “SriLankan Airlines was one of the first airlines in the world to put in place a comprehensive system to champion the cause of environmental conservation, and we are continuously seeking new methods to enhance and refine our efforts.”

As far back as 2009, SriLankan Airlines became the first airline in Asia, and one of the first in the world, to introduce the concept of ‘Planet Friendly Flights’.

Pradeepa Kekulawala, Head of Human Resources and Convener of the airline’s Green Team, said: “SriLankan’s conservation programme is driven by a cross-functional Environmental Working Group that is coordinated by the company’s Environmental Strategic & Compliance Unit. All of these collective efforts ultimately contribute towards the reduction of carbon emissions from the airline’s operation and achieves our objective of creating a ‘Planet Friendly SriLankan’.”

Key components include efficient fuel management practices, where every flight is monitored for optimum fuel efficiency. Among the best practices in use are flying the shortest routes to destinations, single-engine taxi for aircraft taxiing on the ground, and weight saving by using the most lightweight meal carts and other materials on board. Even the weight of magazines and newspapers on board is strictly managed.

The fleet’s aircraft engines are also kept in optimum efficient working order, and aircraft are washed frequently in order to reduce air friction and drag. A high level of awareness is maintained among all of the airline’s staff, especially among pilots, cabin crew, flight dispatchers and other employees directly involved in the airline’s operations.

As far back as 2009,SriLankan created a stir when it became the first airline in Asia to sort and recycle its on-board trash. The airline now uses biodegradable materials wherever possiblewhere the airline’s own biogas plant provides the airline with energy for one building in Katunayake. Other efforts include the use of e-tickets to reduce use of paper, and its ‘Fly Green’ initiative through which passengers can contribute towards a mini-hydro power project by which the airline offsets carbon emissions.

Dhanushka De Silva, Environment Compliance & Planning Manager, said: “Credit for our success goes to all our stakeholders who made this possible, especially our Green Team, and all the staff of the airline.”