May 16, 2007 (LBO) — Sri Lanka closed its only international airport for night flights at the request of national carrier SriLankan Airlines, who would have otherwise been slapped a high insurance premium, the president’s office said in a statement Wednesday. London-Heathrow another top global hub also closes in the night to minimise disturbing city dwellers. The government earlier said they were shutting the Bandaranaike International Airport check-in counters and the only runway, as a security measure against raids by rebel Tamil Tiger aircraft.
The authorities feared that the Tiger rebels who are fighting for an independent Tamil homeland could use the cover of a civilian aircraft to enter the airport’s air space and draw fire from ground troops.
International airlines had feared that they could get caught up in anti-aircraft fire directed against rebel aircraft, which since March, have carried out a series of night time bombing raids.
However, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said the decision was taken mainly “at the request of SriLankan Airlines, which was the only airline with regular night operations.”
“The decision to restrict night operations at the airport had been a plus point for Sri Lanka with the represent