Aviation Hub

May 01, 2007 (LBO) – A trimming of services to Sri Lanka by major international carriers is undermining Colombo’s aspirations to be a regional aviation hub, in addition to hitting the island’s tourist industry. Sri Lanka now has to buy expensive defensive equipment at a cost that is totally disproportionate to the size of the small Tamil Tiger aircraft, disrupting the country’s finances which are already stretched with a planned 9.2 percent deficit.

Singapore Airlines halted daytime flights to Sri Lanka Monday, following Tamil Tiger air intrusions into the South, while Emirates said its suspension would remain, dashing earlier expectations that it would resume operations soon.

Emirates said a service to Dubai and Singapore which had a stopover in Colombo would now by pass the island and fly direct.

A Dubai – Male flight via Colombo has also been dropped in favour of a direct service.

Emirates, which manages and partly owns SriLankan, the island’s national carrier, suspended all its flights to Colombo along with Cathay Pacific after Sunday’s Tiger air strike, the third in a month.

“Following a review of the situation in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Emirates’ flights to the city remai