Sri Lanka to revive ‘open skies’ aviation project

Oct 01, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning to revive an initiative to encourage civil aviation and aerial sports in the island after security restrictions resulting from an internal conflict all but killed the industry. Likewise, he added, hang gliders can fly at a top speed of 30 miles an hour and not higher than 500-600 feet, and could be hit by soldiers armed with rifles. The ‘Ruhunu Open Skies’ programme designed to promote the use of Sri Lankan airspace for commercial, educational and recreational aviation activities will become law soon, said Chira Fernando, a member of the newly formed Sri Lanka Aeronautical Society (SLAeS).

“So there’ll be an area where people can fly without too many restrictions,” Fernando, an international airline pilot who had been flying for 39 years told a group of aviation professionals at the society’s first meeting on Sunday.

This will open up possibilities for a range of activities from ultra-light aircraft flying and hot air ballooning to para-gliding and model aircraft flying, he said.

The area demarcated for development of domestic civil aviation under the ‘Ruhunu Open Skies’ covers the coastal belt from Kalutara to Arugam Bay in Pottuvil and the adjacent 200 nautical m