The Government of Ceylon formed the country's first national carrier, Ceylon Airways, in 1947. The airline used Douglas DC-3 Dakotas for domestic and regional flights and was based at the Colombo-Ratmalane airport.
International services commenced in 1949 in partnership with Australian national Airways (ANA) using two Douglas DC-4 Skymasters named 'Laxapana' and 'Ramayana'. in the 1955 the name was changed to air Ceylon and a partnership arrangement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines saw it expand its services to Europe. regular flights to London began in 1962 while another partnership with UTA - Union des Transports Aeriens, expanded their operations to the Paris and the continent. However, after years of mismanagement and financial losses, Air Ceylon ceased operations in 1978 and was replaces by another government owned airline, Air Lanka. A recent name change has resulted in yet a new moniker, Sri Lankan Airlines.
From the earliest days of commercial aviation, airlines used posters to promote the destinations they served. Beautifully designed posters promoting exotic locations were used as advertising material for ticketing offices, travel agencies, hotels, and tourist promotion bureaus. Ronald Clayton Skate, Don Angus and Mart Kempers were some of the artists commissioned by Air Ceylon to design their travel posters which today are prized by collectors.
Due to Sri Lanka being strategically located en route from Europe to the Far-East and Australasia, many international airlines flew to Colombo as well. There are some superb examples of Ceylon aviation posters done by some of the best known poster artists of the postwar era.