Govt. grants promised concessions for airlines

The Srilankan government has granted the promised concessions for airlines (in the aftermath of the Easter blasts) at the Colombo Airport to attract more international airlines to fly the country.

“This positive and immediate action taken by the Government, especially by the Prime Minister, Minister John Amaratunga and DGCA, Nimalsiri, in response to the urgent request made by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, comes at a critical time and is most appreciated,” said Johanne Jayaratne, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

“SLTDA together with the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, tabled a Cabinet paper for the reduction of ground handling charges, aviation fuel and the embarkation levy for six months, which was approved by the Cabinet on July 7 and the proposal has not got the green light.”

Embarkation Levy from Department of Immigration and Emigration will now be at USD 50 and ground handling charges too, have been slashed according to the airline category and the frequency they operate. More than 98% of tourists to Sri Lanka are currently brought by international airlines and these concessions would help a long way to woo more airlines to fly to Colombo and existing ones to add frequency.

“These Aviation-related discounts will encourage Airlines to reduce the cost of airline tickets and combine these specially priced tickets with the discounts being offered by hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka.” However, the reduction of aviation fuel price to match the price in Chennai Airport is yet to take off. Meanwhile giving another boost to the airline sector Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesingha said that Sri Lanka will operate flights to Indian destinations from Mattala international airport soon.

In addition, the Palali Airport which is now being upgraded to be Sri Lanka’s third international airport too will operate regional flights to India from October 2019. Direct flights would be initially operated to Indian destinations, Bangalore, Cochin, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Sri Lanka also offers free visa on arrival to 48 countries including India and this too would help to woo more Indian tourists to Sri Lanka.

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