Normal Operations

June 19, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s only international airport is to resume around-the-clock operations after air raids by the Tamil Tiger rebels forced its closure at night, an official said Tuesday. The Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1972. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The civil aviation authorities decided to resume night operations shortly following talks with the military and airport officials, a spokesman for President Mahinda Rajapakse’s office said.

“It was decided that we could get back to normal operations at the Bandaranaike International Airport in the next few days,” the spokesman said. “Airlines will take a bit more time to adjust their flight schedules.”

Military officials said the decision came after better radar was installed to track low-flying aircraft.

The airport shut for night flights on June 10 following at least four bombing sorties by low-flying light aircraft manned by Tamil Tigers.

The rebels, who are fighting for an independent homeland for the tropical island’s minority ethnic Tamils, have bombed military and economic targets near the airport and in the north of the island this year.