IATA: SriLankan on track for Oneworld entry in March 2014

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SriLankan Airlines is on track to enter the Oneworld alliance at the end of the first quarter of 2014, says the airline's chief executive.

Kapila Chandrasena says that the airline is "about 40% along the way" on the programme to ready it for the entry into the alliance.

SriLankan announced at the last IATA annual general meeting in June 2012 that it would enter as a full member in mid-2013, but delayed that to early 2014 after it decided to switch to the Amadeus computer reservations system.

Chandrasena says the airline is having constructive talks about codesharing with the other Oneworld carriers, and plans to have a number of agreements in place by the time it enters the alliance.

He notes that the airline will give Oneworld a greater presence in the growing south Asian market.

"I think there is a small vacuum in the Oneworld alliance in the Indian subcontinent, especially southern India and south east Asia and we can bridge that gap," says Chandrasena.

He adds that in return, SriLankan is looking to use its Oneworld partners to tap into more long-haul markets, particularly the USA, Australia, Canada and eastern Europe.