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Sri Lanka to open skies with all freedoms over second airport: report

Apr 12, 2015 17:55 PM GMT+0530 | 2 Comment(s)

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) - Sri Lanka will follow an open skies policy over its second international airport in Mattala, giving full freedoms for foreign airlines to carry traffic to third destinations and within the country, a media report said.
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Sri Lanka's The Sunday Times newspaper said the airlines operating out of Mattala will be given 'all nine' aviation freedoms for commercial airline operations in a bid to make the airport viable.
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The white elephant airport was built far away from a population centre by clearing jungle by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with debt taken from China. The relaxation of controls is expected to be made official by gazette notification this week, the report said.
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"International airlines should now know that if they want to come to MRIA (Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport) they have unbridled access," Director General of Civil Aviation H M C Nimalsiri was quoted as saying.
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"They can come and start operating out of Mattala".
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There was also no ground handling monopoly give to SriLankan Airlines at Mattala, he said.
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Global air travel is government by international agreements such as the Chicago Convention, which restricts the rights of airlines to serve the customers, based on economic nationalist ideas and privileges sought by entrenched incumbents for the most part.
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Restricting 'foreign' airlines became more important when airlines were nationalized after the Second World War and state carriers under the control of rulers started to lose business to private foreign carriers which were better at serving customers, analysts say.
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Most countries allow foreign carriers to over fly their countries for a fee and also permit stops for repairs or refuelling. Third and fourth freedoms refer to the right to fly into a second country and fly back carrying paying passengers, which is essential for international flights.
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Fifth freedoms refers to the right to fly to a third country picking up passengers from the second country which is not given by countries in a bid to protect the market of domestic airlines.
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However countries like Thailand and other key hubs have given full fifth freedoms to develop their tourism and aviation business. SriLankan Airlines now routes its China flights via Bangkok.
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Other freedoms are extensions of the fifth freedom allowing airlines to carry passengers and cargo between third countries with or without stopping in their own country and also stopping at more than one destination in a third country.
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Under such freedoms, a foreign carrier could operate out of Sri Lanka as if it were a Sri Lanka based carrier. Such freedoms are only found in freed aviation markets like Europe, where air travel is now very cheap.
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2 Comments

  1. P Dias April 14, 02:58 AM

    Very good idea for the foreign airlines to operate in/out Srilanka.

  2. dany April 13, 05:06 AM

    i am sure this is a good idea when we consider the lost making airport which we have to start paying the loan they took to build it soon. but what will be the effect for srilankan airline if some other airline like middle east airlines who got enough of money to spend start from mattala. as up now srilankan airline is under billions of losses and if they have to cope up with something like this, god bless them.

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