Air Lanka tookover from its predecessor Air Ceylon as Sri Lanka itself entered a period of turmoil, which would last for over twenty years. Throughout that entire period the white Peacock of Air Lanka would continue to connect the nation to the world, focusing on service if not always punctuality (the airline's designator UL was cheekily expanded to 'Usually Late' by detractors). The workhorse of the fleet was Lockheed's trusty Tristar and I well remember seeing them at Gatwick as a child providing a splash of colour and "a taste of paradise".
Aeroclassics recently released SIA and PIA Airbus A300B4s and as with my Western/Air Pacific DC-10s it turns out they are the same airframe. Singapore Airlines was renowned during the 1980s for operating aircraft for only very short periods prior to selling them on.
Air Ceylon came into being even before independence in 1948 when the airline was setup the year before with a trio of war surplus DC-3s. The aircraft were used for route proving trials, pilot training and flood relief operations prior to the December 10th start of scheduled operations.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: