The Turnaround of Srilankan Airlines

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR196 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Corporate Turnaround
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1980-2005
Organization : SriLankan Airlines
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : Sri Lanka
Industry : Aviation


The case is about SriLankan Airlines (SLA), Sri Lanka's national carrier. It highlights the highs and lows faced by the airline since its inception. In an effort to improve SLA's performance and infuse management expertise, the Sri Lankan Government sold 40% of its stake to Emirates Airlines in 1998. After a devastating attack on its fleet, SLA undertook a series of initiatives which were responsible for its turnaround by the year 2003-04. The case describes initiatives taken by SLA to help build its business and encourage tourism after the tsunami disaster in 2004. The case also explains the challenges SLA is likely to face in the future due to rising jet fuel prices and competition from domestic low cost carriers and other international airlines.


Appreciate the challenges faced by an airliner operating in a politically unstable environment
Understand the methods used by the management of SLA to turn around the airline
Understand the impact of privatization of government-owned entities in developing economies
Understand the symbiotic relationship between the Government and a national carrier, especially in times of crisis


  Page No.
Introduction 1
A Troubled History 1
SLA Turns Around 3
Bouncing Back From A Tidal Wave 5
A Bumpy Ride Ahead? 7
Exhibits 9


SriLankan Airlines (SLA), sla, wttc, Bounce Back Sri Lanka, Privatization, Turnaround, Restructuring, Emirates Airlines, Skywards Frequent Flier Program, Tsunami disaster, World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), Economic risks, Fuel price hedging, Hurricane Katrina and Rita, Political risks, Codesharing, Colombo

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