Air Ceylon was founded by the Ceylonese government in 1947 to start an international route to London. The airline initially ordered two L749 aircraft but later canceled the order. From 1949 to 1953, Air Ceylon operated the route with DC-4s leased from Australian National Airways due to a significant drop in traffic caused by the introduction of Boac Comets and TWA Connies.
In February 1956, Air Ceylon resumed its weekly Colombo to London service with a L749 Constellation from KLM, registered under PH- but painted in Air Ceylon's livery. In November 1958, a KLM L1049G Super Constellation replaced the L749. The PH- registration was replaced by a 4R-Ceylonese registration later that year. The Super Connie was used until November 1960, when a leased KLM L-188 replaced her.