Safe Passage

Mar. 13 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will push for an open skies agreement with India, on the sidelines of trade talks in May to liberalise service sectors of both countries. Both sides are finalising positions for talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), with areas like shipping, tourism and financial services also making the list.

“We are also keen on liberalising our air services with India and getting an open skies agreement. Both sides have agreed to negotiate under CEPA,” Deputy Director of Commerce, Nimal Karunatilake said.

As air service negotiations are outside the scope of the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), talks will take place on the sidelines of CEPA.

“Negotiations will be held soon between air service authorities of both countries,” Karunatilake said. Sri Lanka is pushing for greater accessibility into India.

“Flights to India’s metropolitan cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Calcutta are currently restricted to about seven flights a week for a Sri Lankan registered carrier,” H K Nimalsiri, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority, told LBO.

“We are aski