Cinnamon Air-Srilanka’s domestic airline!

While visiting Srilanka, almost all of us arrive at Colombo and from there proceed to our destination by road. We hardly consider flying domestic within Srilanka- Primary reason, we are not even aware there is a domestic airline within Srilanka and that we can take flights to domestic destinations. We may have noticed air taxis or chartered flights, but they are too expensive for middle class tourists, so never considered. But then, there is a domestic airline in Srilanka and they operate scheduled flights to various domestic destinations at a price which is not too expensive.
The airline is cinnamon Air, aviation arm of popular cinnamon hotels chain.

Below are some of the scheduled flights they operate, from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)

Fare per person (USD)-One way
2x daily
2x daily
1x daily
2x daily
Pasikudah - Batticaloa
2x daily
Colombo City
2x daily

Sample screenshot below.
 Points to note

  • Flights need to be booked exclusively on Cinnamon air website- they won’t appear on OTAs like Skyscanner and MMT
  • Looks like fares are fixed- they don’t vary w.r.t time and other factors
  • You don’t have to arrive 90 mins before scheduled departure time like in India- reporting 30 mins prior is enough
  • Considering the distance flown, the prices are obviously very high- like a 40 km hop between CMB and Colombo city costs 100 USD- I can get Chennai-Colombo return fare in that amount during a sale- but Cinnamon air has limited capacity and is for those who value time a lot and can afford a premium.
  • There could be luggage limitations given the small size of the plane- do check.
Cinnamon Air operates 8 seater Cessna planes- so you can understand how limited the capacity is. But even taxis cost a lot- so if you’re just one person, instead of taking a taxi from airport to say Kandy or Sigiriya or Trincomalee and spending several hours on road, it might just be worth booking a seat on the plane. For example, Colombo airport to Trinconmalee is about 300 kms. A 600 kms round trip taxi costs easily 200-300 USD (around 70 LKR per km)- If it is for just one person, flight makes more sense. (Of course you can save a lot by using bus/train)

Apart from the scheduled flight, if you have the money to pay, Cinnamon air will be happy to organize chartered flight as per your custom needs. Srilankan Airline air taxi is also operated by Cinnamon Air.

One big concern will be syncing your international flight to/from Colombo with Cinnamon Air's domestic flight. Given that there're just one or two domestic flights per day, if you've to wait say 6-9 hours between flights, the value goes down that much.

Another concern is what happens if your inbound international flight is delayed- would Cinnamon air consider you as no show and you've to buy new ticket? Looks like that is the process.

So what do you think? Would you prefer to fly within Srilanka at these rates?

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