Sri Lanka to allow recreational flying

Mar 16, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has decided to lift restrictions on private flying and open up her skies for recreational aviation to lure tourists after the end of a 30-year war, a senior official said. Dissanayake said they want to revive an ‘open skies’ scheme started in November 2006 in the island’s south and extend it to the entire island, although some airspaces over certain areas like defence installations and ports would still be restricted.

Restrictions on recreational aviation were imposed as the threat posed by Tamil Tiger rebels in the ethnic war intensified.

Private flying was banned and even commercial pilot training suspended for some years after the Tigers acquired their own light aircraft which were used for bombing on a few occasions.

The Tigers were defeated by government forces in May 2009, ending the 30-year war, and leading to a marked revival in tourist arrivals.

“The relaxation should happen very soon – in the next couple of months,” Dissanayake said.

Director-general of civil aviation Parakrama Dissanayake said the decision was taken at a meeting between civil aviation authorities and the air force last week.

Dissanayake said the authorities had b