Sri Lanka to liberalise civil aviation

Oct 08, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to further liberalise its civil aviation sector and remove flying restrictions with the end of its ethnic war, an official said. The private sector will be given more opportunities to operate hot air balloons, float planes and helicopters, the Civil Aviation Authority director-general H M C Nimalsiri said.

New civil aviation policy proposals have been sent to the aviation ministry and will be made public soon, he told Vimasuma.com, our sister news website.

“With the end of the war we have an opportunity to open up our air space further,” he said.

“We have already approved the use of hot air balloons, and helicopter and float plane services by three companies. The new policy will aim to further liberalise these activities.”

Previous efforts to remove flying restrictions were aborted owing to concerns that Tamil Tiger separatists might use aircraft for attacks.

But with the of the 30-year war in May 2009 that threat has been removed and a sharp upturn in tourist arrivals has generated more demand for domestic air transport.