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IATA ICAO Callsign
LN LEO Sri-Lion
Founded 1993
Commenced operations 1994
Ceased operations 2006
Fleet size 6
Destinations 10
Headquarters Ratmalana, Sri Lanka
Key people Chandran Rutnam Founder and Chairman
Angelina Jolie is seen during her to visit to Jaffna after traveled by Lionair at the Jaffna Airport in April 2003.

Lionair was an airline with its head office in the Asian Aviation Centre in Sri Lanka on the grounds of Ratmalana Airport near Colombo.[1] It was a privately owned charter operator. Its main base was Ratmalana International Airport.[2]


The airline was a brainchild of Chandran Rutnam and was established in October 1993. The airline started its operations on 24 October 1994. Initially it was owned by Lionvert Inc USA (51%), a United States-based investors group and by Sri Lankan investors (49%). Lionvert sold its stake in late 1997. Lionair suspended domestic services when an Antonov An-24 aircraft went missing shortly after it took off from Jaffna in 1998, but resumed services in October 2002.[2]

Lionair had operated services between Colombo and Jaffna since October 1996, until the suspension of services in 1998. They had hoped to resume services in November 1998.[3]

In 2005 Lionair applied to the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka to operate services to the following destinations: Athens, Chennai, Kochi, Denpasar, Dhaka, Dubai, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, London, Malé, Melbourne, Mumbai, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, Tiruchirapalli, Thiruvananthapuram and Zürich, using Avro 748 and Airbus A320 aircraft.[4]

In 2006 Connexus Air joined with Lionair to assist in the lease and setup of domestic operations using a BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft. It was planned to start the first service by November 2006.[5]

Terminated Routes[edit]

Country-City Airport Code Airport Name Notes Refs
Melbourne MEL YMML Melbourne Airport Terminated
Sydney SYD YSSY Sydney Airport Terminated
Dhaka DAC VGZR Shahjalal International Airport Terminated
Athens ATH LGAV Athens International Airport Terminated
Chennai MAA VOMM Chennai International Airport Terminated
Kochi COK VOCI Cochin International Airport Terminated
Mumbai BOM VABB Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminated
Tiruchirappalli TRZ VOTR Tiruchirappalli International Airport Terminated
Trivandrum TRV VOTV Trivandrum International Airport Terminated
Denpasar DPS WADD Ngurah Rai International Airport Terminated
Jakarta CGK WIII Soekarno–Hatta International Airport Terminated
Rome FCO LIRF Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport Terminated
Kuwait City KWI OKBK Kuwait International Airport Terminated
Kuala Lumpur KUL WMKK Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminated
Malé MLE VRMM Ibrahim Nasir International Airport Terminated
People's Republic of China
Guangzhou CAN ZGGG Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Terminated
Singapore SIN WSSS Singapore Changi Airport Terminated
Sri Lanka
colombo CMB VCBI Bandaranaike International Airport Terminated
colombo RML VCCC Ratmalana Airport Terminated
Jaffna JAF VCCJ Jaffna Airport Terminated
Zürich ZRH LSZH Zürich Airport Terminated
United Arab Emirates
Dubai DXB OMDB Dubai International Airport Terminated
United Kingdom
London LHR EGLL London Heathrow Airport Terminated

Formerly operated[edit]

Aircraft Fleet Introduced Retired
Airbus A320 TBA TBA TBA
Antonov An-24 TBA TBA TBA
Avro 748 TBA TBA TBA
BAe Jetstream 41 TBA TBA TBA
Cessna 152 TBA TBA TBA

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On September 29, 1998, Lionair Flight 602, operated by an Antonov An-24RV, fell into the sea off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka under mysterious circumstances. The aircraft departed Jaffna-Palaly Air Force Base on a flight to Colombo and disappeared from radar screens just after the pilot had reported depressurization. Initial reports indicated that the plane had been shot down by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. All 7 crew and 48 passengers were killed.[3][6]


  1. ^ "Directory: World Airlines." Flight International. 23–29 March 2004. "TACA Peru" 100.
  2. ^ a b Flight International 5–11 April 2005
  3. ^ a b TamilNet 30 October 1998
  4. ^ Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka 11 April 2005
  5. ^ Connexus Air retrieved 23 November 2006
  6. ^ Aviation Safety Network retrieved 23 November 2006

External links[edit]