Aviation Debut

Oct 31, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to throw open the aviation corridor along the southern and eastern coast of the island for commercial traffic from next month, officials said Tuesday. As part of the ‘Ruhunu Open Skies’ policy which kicks off from Nov 19, authorities also plan to open up the skies for recreational activities like gliding, sky diving, parachute jumping, ballooning, float plane operations, model aircrafts and kite operations.

Initiated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), the plan opens up the coastal belt from Kalutara in the South to Arugam Bay in Pottuvil in the East and the adjacent 200 Nautical Mile Maritime Economic Zone for the activities, officials said.

Commercial aerial activities such as shipping lane operations by helicopters will be initiated since the southern belt holds three airfields in Katukurunda, Koggala and Weerawila with an abandoned runway North-East of Hambantota.

Director General CAASL, H M C Nimalasiri says the CAASL is yet to form a mechanism for the helicopter services but hopes to advertise the potential in Sri Lanka’s southern region.

“We are doing a form of mock operation to tell the world of the potent