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Wed, 23 April 2014 23:37:56
Sri Lanka air force launches commercial flights
21 Jul, 2009 17:20:16
July 21, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's air force has started domestic commercial flights using aircraft freed from regular transport missions to support government troops with the end of the war against Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) officials said charter flights are on offer to tourist destinations and other towns in the island using helicopters and light fixed-wing transport aircraft.

No decision had yet been taken on scheduled flights.

They said the services will be provided through the air force's 'Helitours' commercial flight unit from Ratmalana, an airbase south of Colombo, and from Katunayake, the international airport north of the capital.

Sri Lanka's domestic aviation industry is expected to revive with the end of the war after govenrment forces defeated Tamil Tigers in May.

Three domestic aviation companies currently operate regular flights to the northern Jaffna peninsula, although tickets are said to be more expensive than on international flights between Colombo and Chennai in south India.

Another company offers helicopter charter flights that are said to be in demand by businessmen wanting to visit potential investment sites in the north and east.

Regular commercial flights to Jaffna began after the Tigers cut off the land route to the peninsula and are still in demand today given the difficulties and long time to go by road.

SLAF officials said an air force Bell-206 four-seater helicopter can be hired for 955 dollars an hour, a Bell-412 eighter seater for 2,334 dollars an hour, and the larger Mi-17 which can take about a dozen passengers for 2,830 dollars an hour.

A 15-seate Y-12 light transport fixed wing aircraft can be chartered for 1,029 dollars an hour.

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READER COMMENT(S)
2. Sanj Jul 22
War is over, so why not bring down domestic air fares if insurance was the problem?
1. anonymous Jul 22
"...although tickets are said to be more expensive than on international flights"

The airlines operating on this route are less likely to have economies of scale, it is only one route, the ground equipment and other infrastructure is only for this one route. Unlike on international routes, where large economies of scale are present for those airlines.

These domestic airlines are more likely to be faced with higher insurance premiums- than on international routes. Due to the nature of the route. (jaffna being close to a warzone only two months ago).