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7JetSet7 Code: MIH
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: ORIENT
Country: SRI LANKA
Employees 300
Web: mihinlanka.com
Email: rangi@mihinlanka.com
Telephone: +94 112699305
Fax: +94 112697525

Click below for data links:
MIH-2014-11 - TO LAHORE

Formed in 2006 and started operations in 2007. Mihin Air, dba Mihin Lanka. Domestic, regional, & international, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.

4-109 BMICH
Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 7, Sri Lanka


December 2006: Mihin Air (dba "Mihin Lanka") (MIH) is a new regional airline founded in Sri Lanka at the instigation of, and named after, the country's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa ("Mihin" is a classical Sinhala variant of the name "Mahinda").

March 2007: Inaugural flight to Trivandrum, India, using a Fokker F27-500RF (294, LZ-BHB) Friendship leased from Expo Air (EXV).

A320-212 (294, LZ-BHB), BH Air (Balkan Holidays Airlines) (BGH) wet-leased.

May 2007: Operations started with an A320-212 (294, LZ-BHB), BH Air (Balkan Holidays Airlines) wet-leased, which serves destinations in India and the Middle East. The fleet also includes a Fokker F27 Friendship (19642, 4R-MRA), Expo Air (EXV) leased.

January 2008: Emirates Airlines (EAD) will quit its management contract with SriLankan Airlines (LNK) following a public spat after the Sri Lankan government withdrew the work permit of Peter Hill, Emirates (EAD)'s secondee & (CEO) of the Colombo-based carrier.

The trouble started when SriLankan (LNK) refused to offload 35 passengers on a London Heathrow - Colombo flight in order to accommodate President, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entourage. The government owns 51% of the airline, while Emirates Airlines (EAD) holds 43.6%, and negotiations have been underway for 18 months to renew an 8-year-old management contract.

(EAD) now faces the prospect of divesting some or all of its stake. It purchased 40% for $70 million in 1998, when the management agreement was forged and picked up the remainder at a later date. President, Tim Clark has suggested a selling price of $150 million, according to the Sydney-based Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, which indicated that there are doubts surrounding the value of the airline. "Sri Lanka benefited from India's restrictive international aviation policy, and thanks to its relative openness towards the small island neighbor, Colombo became India's major 6th-freedom gateway hub," (CAPA) said.

However, India since has liberalized its international routes for its own airlines, eroding Colombo's importance. Last year, the Sri Lanka government set up a new low-cost airline called Mihin Lanka (MIH), which is operating head-to-head with SriLankan (LNK) on routes such as Colombo - Dubai. Compounding the situation, Rajapaksa has been ineffective in taming the Tamil Tiger rebel groups that have dampened tourism to the country.

May 2008: Sri Lanka's 2nd state-owned carrier Mihin Lanka (MIH) has suspended all its operations, but hopes to resume services to all its destinations in June.

Mihin Lanka (MIH) launched in April last year and flew 2 leased A320 airplanes from Colombo to Bangkok in Thailand, Dubai in the (UAE), Male in the Maldives, plus Bodh Gaya, Trichi, and Trivandrum in India, and Singapore.

It then returned one of the airplanes and later the other, causing it to suspend all operations.

Local reports say the 2nd airplane was wet-leased from Bulgarian carrier BH Air (BGH) and it was returned at the end of April.

Mihin Lanka was established last year as a low-cost carrier (LCC) and is named after Sri Lanka's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

December 2008: 737-8K2 (29678, F-GZHE), ex-TransAvia France (TVF), TransAvia (TAV) leased.

January 2009: Recommences operations. Daily to Dubai, except Saturdays. In February, once weekly to Bodhgaya

February 2009: Mihin Lanka (MIH), is a start-up low cost carrier (LCC) created by the Sri Lankan government to operate services to the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

Parent organization/shareholders: Sri Lankan Government (100%).

(IATA) Code: MJ. (ICAO) Code: MLR (Callsign - MIHIN LANKA).

Company slogan: "Yours to fly..."

Main base: Colombo Bandaranayike International airport (CMB).

Domestic destinations: Ampara; Palali; & Trincomalee.

International destinations: India: Bodhgaya; Trichy; & Trivandrum).
United Arab Emirates (UAE): Dubai.

December 2009: A320-232 (977, 4R-MRB), delivery.

September 2012: Mihin Lanka (MIH), the government-owned Sri Lankan Low Cost Carrier (LCC), launched 5x-weekly services connecting Colombo (CMB) and Bahrain (BAH) airports on September 2. The move comes as a result of restructuring effort at also state-owned, Sri Lankan Airlines (LNK), which withdrew from the route after 40 years’ operation. However, a code share agreement has been put in place. Mihin Lanka (MIH) will operate the 3,750 km route using A321s in all-economy (Y) seating. Bahrain’s own airline, Gulf Air (GUL), already serves the market with 10x-weekly flights. Pujitha Jayakody, Mihin Lanka (MIH)’s Director Flight operations & Training, said: “Together with our code share partner SriLankan Airlines (LNK), (MIH) will provide convenient connections to destinations in India, the Far East and other destinations.”

December 2012: Mihin Lanka (MIH) inaugurated its 7th international service from Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka on December 7, with the launch of 3x-daily flights on the 350 km route to Madarai (IXM) in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nandu. The new A321-operated service faces competition from SpiceJet (ROJ)’s daily frequencies.

January 2013: Mihin Lanka (MIH) will operate Colombo service to Bahrain (6x-weekly, from December 7), Dhaka (5x-weekly, from December 7), Dubai (3x-weekly, from December 9), Delhi (5x-weekly, on February 1), Gaya (2x-weekly, on February 2), Jakarta (6x-weekly, from December 9), Madurai (3x-weekly, from December 7), Sharjah (4x-weekly, from December 8) and Tiruchirapally (4x-weekly, from December 8 to March 30), as well as 2x-weekly Colombo - Varanasi service between February 5 - April 1.

February 2013: Mihin Lanka (MIH), the subsidiary of Sri Lankan Airlines (LNK), expanded its offering from Colombo (CMB) with 3 Indian destinations. On February 1, (MIH) commenced services to both Delhi (DEL) and Varanasi (VNS) in the northern province of Uttar Pradesh, which are now offered respectively with 5x- and 2x-weekly frequencies. In addition, (MIH) inaugurated services on the 2,000 km route from the Sri Lankan capital to Gaya (GAY) in eastern India, and now offers 2x-weekly frequencies in the market. While all 3 routes are operated using A320-family airplanes, Mihin Lanka (MIH) faces competition on only 1 of them, as its parent company, (LNK) already operates daily flights from Colombo to Delhi.

A total of 4 routes were launched very recently at Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. (MIH), the country’s own low-cost carrier (LCC), continued its expansion in India, while Turkish Airlines (THY) connected Colombo to its Istanbul Atatürk hub via Malé. Only 1 airport serves Sri Lanka’s scheduled international traffic at the moment, supported by a network of 13 domestic facilities.

Examination of historical data shows that Sri Lankan air traffic growth shows fairly high volatility. A small slump in traffic in 2001 was quickly recovered and the industry grew at an average rate of +11.8% over the next six years (despite the 2004 Tsunami). Only a combination of the global economic situation and internal security problems then resulted in traffic loss of respectively -5.7% and -7.3% (RPK)s in 2008 and 2009.

In 2010, passenger numbers climbed by an astonishing +24%, as a result of increased interest from both businesses and individuals following the end of Sri Lanka’s decades-long internal conflict. The landmark achievement of surpassing 5 million passengers for the 1st time in history failed to last, however, and in 2011, traffic contracted by -7% (RPK).

Capacity data for February 2013 reveals that Sri Lankan Airlines (LNK), the country’s flag carrier, remains the largest carrier operating at Colombo Airport. In fact, it increased its market share (as measured in weekly seats) by +3.5% points compared to the corresponding period a year before, and now offers 52.2% of all seats. Moreover, Sri Lankan’s Mihin Lanka (MIH), expanded dynamically over the past year (+120% annual increase in February 2013), and now commands 10% of Colombo Airport’s capacity. New routes from Mihin Lanka since February 2012 include services to Bahrain (previously operated by Sri Lankan (LNK) for 4 decades), as well as flights to 3 points in India – Delhi, Varanasi and Gaya.

The 3rd-largest carrier operating to Sri Lanka is Emirates (EAD), which currently offers 2x-daily services from Colombo to its Dubai hub, as well as daily frequencies each to Malé in the Maldives and Singapore. Admittedly, (EAD) marginally reduced its capacity to Sri Lanka following fleet adjustments, but it was the rapid growth of Mihin Lanka (MIH) that made Emirates (EAD) lose its #2 position.


March 2013: Mihin Lanka (MIH) inaugurated flights from the newly opened Hambantota (HRI) airport, Sri Lanka’s 2nd international gateway, on March 24. (MIH) now offers services from this southern Sri Lanka airport to Gaya (GAY) in the north-eastern Indian state of Bihar. The 2,100 km route, which operates a circular pattern connecting Colombo, Hambantota and Gaya before returning to the capital, is offered with weekly frequencies using A320s.

November 2013: Mihin Lanka (MIH) now flies between its home base of Colombo (CMB) and Mahé (SEZ) in the Seychelles. Starting November 16th the 3,070 km route will be operated 2x-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) using (MIH)’s A320. No other carrier currently operates this route. According to Airbus (EDS), (MIH) operates 1 A320 and 2 A321s, while schedule data indicates (MIH) will serve 10 destinations from Colombo this winter, including 4 in India, and 3 in the Middle East (Bahrain, Dubai, and Sharjah), plus Dhaka and Jakarta.

January 2014: SriLankan Airlines (LNK) is to acquire 3 former Qatar Airways (QTA) A321-200s according to Skyliner Aviation. The Sri Lankan national airline's 1st A321-200 has been revealed as (3397, A7-ADX), currently in storage at Ostrava. At present, (LNK) is contracted to operate limited weekly flights from Colombo International to Malé and Muscat using 1 of its 2 A321-200s.
SriLankan to wet-lease a (MIH) A321-200 for Muscat flights.

May 2014: News Item A-1: While Mihin Lanka (MIH) has had some success opening secondary routes, (MIH) is too small to generate any significant economies. The Sri Lankan government should relook at the business case for Mihin Lanka (MIH) and consider merging the carrier into SriLankan Airlines (LNK).

Sri Lanka’s 2 carriers are both fully government-owned and code share on some routes, but are separate companies. It is hardly a typical 2-brand strategy, but Sri Lanka (LNK)'s politics-riddled aviation policy is hardly a sound one.

News Item A-2: Mihin Lanka ((IATA) Code: MJ, based at Colombo International) (MIH) has signed an agreement with the Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 2 737-800s due for delivery in June and July 2015. (MIH) (CEO), Kapila Chandrasena said the deal marked (MIH)'s first steps in phasing out its fleet of two A320s and an A321 in favor of Boeing (TBC) metal.

News Item A-3: Sri Lankan hybrid carrier, Mihin Lanka (MIH) plans to transition from A320 family airplanes to 737-800s and introduce a business (C) class product. But the government-owned carrier is expected to remain very small with a fleet of only 3 airplanes.

Mihin Lanka (LNK) will take two Boeing 737-800s from Air Lease Corporation (ALE) to test a potential switch from Airbus to Boeing.

November 2014: Mihin Lanka (MIH) on November 17th began operating thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays) on the 2,755 km route between Colombo (CMB) and Lahore (LHE) in Pakistan. No other carrier serves the route, which will be flown by (MIH)’s A320s. This winter will see (MIH) operate eight routes from its base at Colombo. Apart from Lahore, (MIH) is offering non-stop flights this winter from the Sri Lankan capital to Bahrain, Dhaka (Bangladesh), Jakarta (Indonesia), Madurai (India), Medan (Indonesia), Seychelles, and Sharjah (UAE).

February 2015: News Item A-1: Mihin Lanka ((IATA) Code: MJ, based at Colombo International) and its sister carrier, SriLankan Airlines ((IATA) Code: UL, based at Colombo International) (LNK), are to be merged into a single entity as part of the new Sri Lankan government's plans to cut down on unnecessary expenditure.

Presenting the country's interim budget, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said consolidating the 2 carriers into 1 company would cut losses while increasing productivity.

(MIH), a state-backed budget carrier operating flights to the Indian Sub-continent, the Middle East, and South East Asia, has racked up -LKR15 billion/-USD113.37 million in losses since 2010, while its full-service counterpart, SriLankan (LNK), has lost -LKR100 billion/-USD755.8 million over the same period, he said.

In their defense, both airlines have blamed their dismal financial performance on "high fuel costs, less than satisfactory yields, due to the recession in Europe, competition from other airlines, significant investments in acquiring additional capacity and enhancement of supporting services including the cabin upgrades."

In an effort to bolster the airlines' coffers and cut the country's debt bill, President Maithripala Sirisena cancelled a USD16 million order for a new (VIP) jet with the money to be used to buy spare parts for SriLankan (LNK) and Mihin Lanka (MIH)'s airplanes.

Mihin Lanka (MIH) is a scheduled carrier currently operating 3 airplanes to 8 countries, 12 destinations, 12 routes and 9 daily flights.

News Item A-2: Mihin Lanka (MIH) has taken delivery of a single 2nd-hand Airbus A319-100 to supplement its current fleet of 1 A320-200 and 2 A321-200s.

Formerly in service with Air Macau ((IATA) Code: NX, based at Macau International) (MCU), the twelve-year-old A319 is scheduled to begin operations as (1893, 4R-MRF) in early March on flights from Colombo International to Bahrain, Dhaka, Mangalore, Lahore and Sharjah.

Mihin Lanka (MIH) has revised a lease agreement, signed with the Air Lease Corporation (ALE) early last year, concerning 2 737-800s, which were to have been delivered in June and July of this year.

Sri Lanka's "Sunday Times" quotes the airline's former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nishantha Ranatunga, as saying that after protracted negotiations, the USA lessor agreed to switch out the 737s in favor of 2 A320neos and 1 A319-100. According to Ranatunga, Mihin management successfully argued that the cost of introducing Boeing (TBC) airplanes into (MIH)'s all-Airbus Industrie fleet would have proven prohibitively expensive.

Despite his departure, Ranatunga said the loss-making (MIH) was on track to register its 1st profits in 2017 with the ongoing implementation of a restructuring program devised by the (MIH) itself.

While the low cost carrier (LCC) suffered operational losses of USD 1.2 million in April 2014, it was able to register a profit for the following quarter, following which, it has yo-yoed back and forth between profit and loss in successive quarters.

SriLanka's new government has already proposed merging Mihin (MIH) with SriLankan Airlines (LNK) in a bid to consolidate and return them to long term profitability.

Mihin Lanka (MIH) currently operates 4 airplanes to 8 countries, to 12 destinations, on 12 routes and 9 daily flights.

March 2016: SriLankan Airlines (LNK) is focused on having its operations break even within the next 2 years, as it takes delivery of new aircraft and restructures its network.

Speaking at Routes Asia in Manila, an airline official says that while (LNK)’s load factor was above >80% in 2015, its yields were low. Last January, it was given a mandate by the country’s new government to stem losses at the airline, part of which involved merging with budget carrier Mihin Lanka (MIH).

“We’re facing high competition from Middle Eastern carriers, especially on routes out of Europe. The yield is the problem, it keeps declining,” said the official.

He adds that (MIH) wants to focus on serving destinations in China and India, especially to “unique points,” where competition is lower.

The airline last year retired its ageing Airbus A340s, and inducted 7 new A330-300s. Over the next 2 years, it has 6 A320neo family aircraft, as well as 3 A350s, that are scheduled to be delivered. An additional +3 A350s will also be delivered at a later time.

(LNK)’s fleet will however remain stable at around 21 aircraft, with older jets being retired as new ones are delivered.

As to the government's proposed merger with Mihin Lanka (MIH), there are no clear indications as yet that it will proceed, with the units still operating separately at current, said the official. He pointed out, however, that Suren Ratwatt and Siva Ramachandran, play the respective roles of (CEO) and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at both carriers.

On the airline’s future, the official says: “Previously we had a lot of intervention from the government, but the new government has given us a free hand to just make the airline profitable… so the airline is getting more focused. The strategy is clear now.”

July 2016: The Sri Lankan government has called for expressions of interest in the privatization of Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member, SriLankan Airlines (LNK) and its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Mihin Lanka (MIH).

An advert, titled “invitation for expression of interest for the reorientation of (LNK) and (MIH),” has been placed in print publications by National Savings Bank subsidiary (NSB) Fund Management, which is managing the process.

It specified that the purpose of the process is to find a strategic investor for the “reorientation” of the two airlines. The exact stake that will be up for sale is unclear, although it has been suggested it could be around 40%.

(NSB) Fund Management said further information (including a summary of the transaction, key investment highlights and requirements) were available on request until July 27.

Would-be investors have to pay a non-refundable fee of $5,000 to access the documentation and they have until 1600 Sri Lankan time on August 24 to submit their expression of interest.

The Sri Lankan government has appointed (BNP) Paribas and (KPMG) as its financial advisors for the transaction.

Earlier this year, the government said it was considering an equity buy-in from another airline and possible aircraft order cancellations to stem ongoing losses at the national carrier. This was followed by some network cuts.

SriLankan Airlines (LNK) has been facing increased competition, especially from Gulf carriers, but it has signed new, “promising” code share agreements with Etihad Airways (EHD) and Qatar Airways (QTA). In the future, (LNK) plans to connect to Frankfurt and Paris via Abu Dhabi and Doha.

Emirates (EAD) acquired a 40% stake in (LNK) for $70 million in 1998 and increased its shareholding to 43.6%, with the government holding a 51% majority. But the partners hit troubles in 2008, triggering the government buy-back in 2010.

November 2016: Sri Lankan low-cost carrier (LCC) Mihin Lanka (MIH) has ceased operations, with its flights being taken over by national carrier, SriLankan Airlines (LNK). Closure of the persistently loss-making (LCC) had been predicted for several months in local media.

(MIH), the state-owned company never made a profit since its launch in 2007. It flew a small fleet of Airbus A320-family single-aisle airliners, primarily on routes within the Indian subcontinent and to the Persian Gulf region, where many Sri Lankans work.

The closure decision “has been made by the government as part of its long-term strategy to restructure the local aviation industry and strengthen the national carrier (LNK)'s offering and efficiency,” Mihin Lanka (MIH) and SriLankan Airlines (LNK) said in a joint statement. “All routes in Mihin Lanka (MIH)'s route network will now be serviced by SriLankan Airlines (LNK), thus marking a new beginning for the national carrier and building a strong, efficient and competitive airline that will be a force to be reckoned with in the region.”

The Sri Lankan government has been seeking external equity for its flag carrier, which is facing increased competition from the major Gulf carriers.

Mihin Lanka (MIH) had around 300 employees. About 130 have been redeployed to the national carrier (LNK), and any who have not joined SriLankan Airlines (LNK) by the time the (LCC) formally ceases to exist on December 31 will be given a severance package.

Mihin Lanka (MHN))’s website redirects visitors to SriLankan Airlines (LNK)’s site.


Click below for photos:
MIH-A320 MAR07
MIH-A321-200 - 2014-11

November 2016:

0 737-8K2 (CFM56-7B26) (2615-29678, /08 F-GZHE), (TAV) LSD 2008-12. RTND. 186Y.

0 737-800 (CFM56-7B), (ALE) LSD (2015-06) 2 CANCELED TO REPLACE WITH AIRBUS A319-100 & 2 A320-200neos (SEE FOLLOWING). 186Y.

1 A319-100 (1783, /03 4R-MRF), (ALE) LSD 2015-02.

2 A320-200neo, (ALE) LSD?

0 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (305, /92 LZ-BHE), (BGH) WET-LSD 2007-12. 16C, 126Y.

1 A320-212 (CFM56-5A3) (294, /92 LZ-BHB - SEE PHOTO), EX-(ANS), (GEF) LSD, (BGH) WET-LSD 2007-03. HAS "YOURS TO FLY" TITLES ON REAR FUSE. 16C, 126Y.

1 A320-231 (V2500-A1) (169, /91 4R-ABE), (LNK) WET-LSD 2004-03. IN MIHIN LANKA COLORS. 12C, 132Y.

1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (977, /99 4R-MRB), EX-(VT-ADZ) 2009-12. 180Y.

2 A321-200 (3397, A7-ADX), EX-(QTA).

1 F27-500RF FRIENDSHIP (DART 536-7) (10642, /82 4R-MRA), EXPO AIR (EXV) LSD 2007-10. 52Y.









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