Sri Lanka Expo Aviation to revive domestic air service

Apr 29, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Expo Aviation plans to revive a domestic air service between the capital Colombo and northern Jaffna that was once a profitable business when the land route was cut by Tamil Tiger separatists. The company plans to acquire an aircraft for the passenger service in response to growing demand for air travel given its speed and comfort compared with travel by road which takes over 10 hours.

“We now plan to revive the domestic air service,” said Sattar Kassim, a non-executive director of Expo Aviation and a group director of Expolanka Holdings.

“We’ll be using a smaller aircraft than before, capable of carrying about 20 passengers,” he told LBO.

Expo Aviation used to have up to four scheduled daily flights between Colombo and Jaffna using a 52-seater Fokker F-27-500 on the route.

The service was stopped after the main A9 highway to Jaffna was opened up and the number of people choosing to fly fell sharply following the end of the 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.

The market was also hit by competition from the air force which revived its ‘Helitours’ domestic passenger transport arm using passenger aircraft no longer employed in the war.

Expo Aviation is also a private