SriLankan Airlines, which has gained a worldwide reputation as a pioneer of conservation in the global air transport industry, spread the message of environmental protection among its passengers at Bandaranaike International Airport during Earth Hour last Saturday (March 19), with a uniquely innovative effort.
Passengers at SriLankan’s Business Class Serendib Lounge were pleasantly surprised when they were invited to share in the romantic ambience of a candlelit setting for an entire hour between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. as the lights and air conditioning were switched off.
SriLankan Head of Human Resources and the airline’s Green Team Convener Pradeepa Kekulawala said, “SriLankan Airlines takes great pride in being not only a pioneer in environmental conservation but also in our innovative efforts time and time again to promote awareness on this vital topic among the public, our passengers and our employees. You can expect more such innovations from SriLankan in the future with regard to conservation.”
Employees of SriLankan Airlines, led by the airline’s ‘Green Team’ and its Airport Service department, mingled with passengers in the lounge, explaining the purpose of Earth Hour, SriLankan’s commitment to conservation and distributing awareness-creating pamphlets and tags. The lounge continued to provide all its numerous facilities for passengers during this time.
Earth Hour (www.earthhour.org) is an annual worldwide effort organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) aimed at reducing energy usage and creating awareness of the urgent need for environmental conservation. It began in 2007 in Sydney, was adopted worldwide the next year and now covers over 7,000 cities and towns worldwide. The next Earth Hour is scheduled to be held on March 25, 2017.
SriLankan Airlines became the first airline in Asia and one of the first in the world, to introduce the concept of ‘Planet Friendly Flights’ in 2009. Its wide ranging conservation programme is driven by a cross-functional Environmental Working Group that is coordinated by the company’s Environmental Strategic and Compliance Unit, known as ‘The Green Unit.’
In January 2016, the Business Traveller magazine ranked SriLankan Airlines as the second among airlines in the Asia and Asia-Pacific region for having the lowest carbon footprint. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also highlighted SriLankan Airlines as one of the world’s most conservation-minded airlines.
Its conservation programme includes key components such as maximum fuel efficiency of its aircraft fleet, recycling of as many materials as possible including those used on board aircraft, reducing usage of paper products among passengers, use of biofuel to power some of its buildings, creating public awareness and promoting ‘green’ endeavours such as tree planting and a mini-hydropower project.