SriLankan Airlines will be making an exit from Skywards, the loyalty programme for frequent fliers of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, according to a senior executive.
“With the management contract between the two airlines being terminated on March 31 this year, we will not be Skywards partners with Emirates,” Chandana Desilva, SriLankan Airline’s head of corporate communication, told Emirates Business.
Skywards’ February newsletter also carried news of the end of the deal. It read: “The existing management agreement between Emirates and SriLankan Airlines expires on March 31, 2008, when the management control of SriLankan Airlines will revert to the Government of Sri Lanka. The termination of this arrangement will result in SriLankan Airlines ceasing to be part of the Skywards programme.”
It further urged Skywards members to remain assured that their Skywards membership will continue even beyond the termination of SriLankan’s participation in the programme.
Confirming the same, an Emirates’ spokesperson said: “We can confirm that SriLankan Airlines will cease to be part of the Skywards programme when the existing management agreement between Emirates and SriLankan Airlines expires on March 31, 2008. Until that date, Skywards members can continue to earn and redeem miles on both airlines as per the existing programme rules.
“Existing members will continue to be a part of the programme, post SriLankan Airline’s departure. More information about changes in the Skywards programme will be communicated to our members soon.”
Meanwhile, discussions are still under way between the airlines on how the programme can be taken forward, after the end of the management contract.
“At present, our commercial team is negotiating with the commercial team of Emirates to see how best we can continue with Skywards programme or if we can come to an agreement,” said Desilva.
Almost three months after Emirates ended its 10-year management contract with Srilankan Airlines, the two airlines are in the process of working out the issues related to shared resources and services, Skywards being one of the main ones.
But besides Skywards, some other key (shared) functions that would need looking into include codeshare flights, IT (information technology) and reservations. Emirates says it is still working out the fundamentals. Emirates, meanwhile, having valued its stake in SriLankan at about $150 million (Dh550.5m), is still looking out for buyers, according to Emirates’ President Tim Clark.
There have been talks about the Sri Lankan government buying that stake but no decision has been arrived at as yet.
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