May 17, 2007 (AFP) – Insurance rates for airlines operating to Sri Lanka are expected to remain unchanged after the government’s decision to shut the airport here for night flights following rebel air raids, officials said Thursday. Sri Lanka’s only international airport halted night flights last Thursday in line with new security measures following several night-time attacks by rebel Tamil Tiger aircraft.
The authorities feared 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.
“During a debriefing session with senior government officials, (underwriter) consultants said they were satisfied with the arrangements we have undertaken,” Sri Lanka’s top Civil Aviation official, Prakrama Dissanayake, said.
Consultants hired by London-based underwriters made known their views after completing a week-long security audit on Bandaranaike International Airport, in Katunayake, 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Colombo.
Under the new security measures, the airport check-in counters and the only runway close for six hours from 10:00 pm (1730 GMT).
Air traffic controllers remain at their posts to handle emergencies.