sajin vass to resign from "Mihin Lanka"

CEO of Mihin Lanka Sajin Vaas Gunawardena will resign from his post at the end of this month to pave the way for a tie up with SriLankan Airlines and his brother Manoj Vaas Gunawardena to take over as CEO of the national carrier.

The Sunday Leader learns Sajin Vaas Gunawardena will continue to serve in the board of Mihin Lanka while Manoj Vaas Gunawardena will assume the CEO post of SriLankan Airlines from next month.

It is learned that Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapakse will forward to cabinet a memorandum outlining the proposed tie up between SriLankan and Mihin.

Sajin Vaas Gunawardena last Friday posed for a photograph with his staff and announced his resignation as CEO, but said he would continue as a board member.

A source at Mihin Lanka said Sajin's resignation will only be on paper and he would continue to be in charge from behind the scenes. The source said the resignation was aimed at muting a conflict of interest that the two brothers were both CEOs of government owned airlines.

Sajin after attending a meeting Friday with his board members and senior managerial staff, took a group photo after which he announced that he would resign by end of the month.

He had also announced that someone better would take over as CEO of Mihin and that he would still be on the board.

Minister Rajapakse has already signed a memorandum to be presented to cabinet outlining the commercial agreement Mihin is to sign with SriLankan. The memorandum was to be presented at last week's cabinet meeting, but the cabinet did not meet.

According to the cabinet memorandum SriLankan Airlines and Mihin will have a close working relationship in which Mihin will operate the routes that are more profitable to a budget airline while SriLankan will continue to develop its already established routes.

The memorandum also states that the government has recognised that there are structural and managerial deficiencies in Mihin and has attributed Mihin's failure to return an operational profit to structural and managerial deficiencies and not to any problems with capacity or the number of passengers.

Mihin has regained control of its aircraft after receiving an additional Rs. 250 million from the Treasury, wrangled out in a hurry after an incident in Bombay where one of the aircraft was grounded following an emergency landing and passengers were delayed for as much as six hours.

Speculation is rife that Lalith Silva, already a director of SriLankan may be appointed CEO of Mihin. In fact sources say President Mahinda Rajapakse had earlier wanted Silva to take over as CEO of SriLankan but he had turned down the offer.

Silva was formerly a director of Mobitel, in which Australian telecom giant Telestra had shares. Silva was apparently a key figure in negotiating Telestra's departure from the state-owned mobile telecom company, ultimately being appointed as CEO of Mobitel. Government sources say that they hope that Silva could perform a similar feat with Emirates. He is a Ministry favourite as they feel he has 'integrity and highly valued financial probity' sources say.

India Oil wants to market aviation fuel in Sri Lanka

Having stabilised operations to retail transport fuels in Sri Lanka, the Lanka Indian Oil Corp, a subsidiary of India's state-run oil company, will ask for Colombo's permission to market aviation fuel.

"We are applying to the government to participate in the aviation fuel marketing and we are ready to develop infrastructure facilities for it," the managing director of Lanka Indian Oil Corp, K Ramakrishnan, said.

He said that Lanka IOC had offered to build its storage facilities and supply aviation fuel at the Katunayake international airport near here or the new airport at Weerawila, some 300 km away.

At the moment, the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) has a monopoly in marketing aviation fuel in this island nation.

"In the event of the government granting us the permission, we will augment CPC in the marketing of aviation fuel. But keeping it as a monopoly may not be desirable for a growing economy like Sri Lanka," Ramakrishnan said.

"We are hopeful that we will get permission to develop infrastructure and import aviation fuel to Colombo and Trincomalee ports and do the marketing," he said, adding they were also seeking to expand the retail outlets to 324 from 152.

The company, a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corp, in Sri Lanka, was incorporated to retail petroleum products, bulk supplies to industrial consumers and also to build and operate storage facilities at the Trincomalee.

Ramakrishnan said that the government of Sri Lanka would also be approached for another fuel price increase in the near future because global oil prices had shot up further. He, nevertheless, said the company was making impressive profits.

He said the company was expected to log a turnover of around $400 million for the year ended March 31. "This will prove Lanka IOC is the number one company in terms of turnover among private enterprises in Sri Lanka."

Lanka IOC imports petroleum products in two ports at Colombo and Trincomalee and keeps stocks ay both places. In November last year, it commissioned a $5 million lube oil blending plant with the capacity of 18,000 tonnes a year.

"Even at the beginning stage we are doing pretty well in this plant and blending some 300,000 litres of lubricants a month. We have larger plans for Trincomalee oil tank farm which has 850 acres of land with a very good jetty nearby."


Sri Lankan Airlines catering service gets new food safety certification

Sri Lankan Catering, has just added the ISO22000:2005 and HACCP-Codex Alimentarius accreditations to its existing ISO9001:2000 standard, an airline statement said.

"Sri Lankan Catering met full compliance at the professional audits that were performed by the certifying bodies prior to the certifications," Dilip Nijhawan, chief executive of Sri Lankan Catering, was quoted as saying.

"These certifications have very strict standards and are extremely tough to obtain."

Nijhawan said the certifications recognise Sri Lankan Catering's products, systems and procedures as being of the highest global standards.

Sri Lankan Catering, one of the airline's main profit centres, provides in-flight catering for Sri Lankan Airlines and other airlines that fly through Colombo, and also operates restaurants at the island's sole international airport.

The company produces more than 13,500 meals a day in its fight kitchen which was built with an investment of 25 million US dollars.

The new certifications provide strict standards and guidelines for management of the entire production process, beginning with how raw materials such as vegetables, meats and fruits are received, through the preparation of meals, and transportation right up to delivery.


Government to offer rich incentives to retain SriLankan pilots

The new management of SriLankan Airlines, the country's national carrier is planning to offer a duty free car permit and a salary increase of 1,500 US dollars to the pilots in order to retain them in the company, says a reliable source.

Expecting a turnover of pilots with the politically appointed new management, the incentive package which has been offered by the previous management is reconsidered as the future of the airline is in doubts.

According to the sources, representatives of the Pilot’s Guild of SriLanka are to meet with the Aviation Minister, Chamal Rajapaksa to discuss the matter in near future.


SriLankan smiles amidst losses

“SriLankan Airlines has recorded a 50% loss on its total assets and a 45% loss in its financial assets under the Emirates Mangement within the last two years alone,” Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said yesterday.

Addressing the new management and the employees at the ceremony held to signify the change of management from Emirates Airlines to SriLankan Airlines at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday, he said the challenge before the employees and the management was how to make the national carrier a profit making venture.

“You have the backing of the government to meet that goal. What you need is more determination, dedication and self confidence. We can learn lessons from our neighbor India and our friend China to do that. Your priority must be to strengthen the financial capacity and management discipline of the national carrier,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.

Partially privatized in 1998, SriLankan Airlines is once again a fully state-owned carrier since its launch in 1979. SriLankan Airlines now serves 41 destinations in 22 countries in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and the Far East and is the largest foreign carrier operating to India with 100 weekly flights to 11 destinations.

SriLankan Airlines has maintained a dynamic programme to expand its number of destinations and the new frequency of flights to each destination through its own flights and code shares. New destinations in recent years include Amsterdam, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Bradford, Teeside, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Beijing, Jeddah, Goa and Coimbatore.

SriLankan operates a fleet of 14 Airbus built wide bodied A340 and A330 aircraft and mid range A320s. The fleet comprises 5 Airbus A340s, 4 Airbus A330–200s and 5 Airbus A320–200 aircraft.

The Government of Sri Lanka holds 51.05% and Emirates Airline holds 43.63% share of the national carrier while the employees’ share is 5.32%.

On the new board of directors of Srilankan Airlines Dr. P.B. Jayasundara (Chairman) and members Nishantha Wickramasingha, Lalith De Silva, and Sunil Wijesingha represent Sri Lanka while Tim Clerk, Gary Chapman and Nigel Hopkins represent Emirates.

Emirates re-introduces First Class on flights to Colombo

Travellers out of Colombo can now experience the luxury of Emirates’ First Class service, following the introduction of three-class configuration on selected flights.

The award-winning Dubai-based carrier has replaced the Airbus A330 aircraft it operated on flight EK 552 to Dubai on Mondays and Thursdays, with Boeing 777 aircraft with 14 and 12 First Class seats respectively, with effect from March 31st, 2008.

As a result, passengers who wish to travel First Class from Colombo onwards can now do so twice a week and consequently earn more Skywards Miles from Emirates’ Frequent Flyer Programme, noted Emirates’ Sales Manager Sri Lanka, Devika Ellepola.

With an all-pervading air of luxury and exclusivity, Emirates’ First Class travel truly sets passengers in a class of their own. From the plush airport lounges with full business facilities to the ultra swift check-in and boarding, First Class passengers are pampered from the moment their journey begins - until they leave the comfort of their seats to be whisked in style to their final destination.

On the Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft, the roomy sleeper seats are separated by wide aisles and are equipped with electronically-controlled leg rest, lumbar support and adjustable headrests.

The personal swivel table stored in the armrest slides aside at a touch. Ample wardrobe and overhead locker space is provided and all passengers receive exclusive complimentary amenity kits on night flights. Each First Class cabin has two exclusive toilets for the use of passengers.

“The return of First Class services on Emirates flights departing Colombo after more than nine years would be welcomed by many of our frequent flyers,” Mrs Ellepola said. “This is a development that we have worked towards because we believe there is potential in the market.”

The possibility of introducing aircraft in three-class configuration on more flights out of Colombo would be explored as the year progresses, she said.

One of the world’s fastest-growing international airlines, Emirates operates 17 flights a week from Colombo to Dubai and four flights a week from Colombo to Singapore and Jakarta.

The airline now serves 100 destinations and has already announced plans to start services to Calicut, India and Guangzhou, China, on 1st July followed and to Los Angeles on 1st September.


All VIPs and govt officials to travel on SriLankan Airlines

Mar 28, Colombo: With the ending of the deal with Emirates Airlines, the Sri Lankan government has taken a policy decision to use SriLankan Airlines for all foreign visits by all VIPs and government officials.

The new management of SriLankan expects to elevate it as the state airline under commercial standards. SriLankan Airlines is scheduled to launch a number of programs with its commencement under the new management on April 1, 2008.

Meanwhile, Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa has instructed the new management to take immediate measures to solve long-standing employee and salary problems. Sri Lankans traveling abroad to visit their relatives and Sri Lankans who are living abroad, returning to visit their relatives here, will be offered special concessionary rates under the news plans.

President to address SriLankan Airlines staff

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the SriLankan airline management, employees and Unions on April 3.

Minister of Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa will also attend the discussion.

A senior official of the airline said after the uncertainty created with Emirates team deciding not to renew their 10-year contract, employees now are confident that they could do an even better job than their management successor.

SriLankan Airline flight

“Employees questioned about their future but now with the Government appointing a new board comprised of experienced people there is confidence among the employees,” he said. He also said due to the stability created many are trying to get themselves recruited to the airline.

Government last week appointed Dr P B Jayasundera as Chairman with Nishantha

Wickremasinghe, Lalith De Silva and Sunil Wijesinha as Nominee Directors to represent the Government that holds 51.05 per cent shares.

Emirates Airline, which ended their management contract today, holds 43.63 per cent shares with Tim Clark, Gary Chapman and Nigel Hopkins representing them. SriLankan Airlines has scheduled to launch a number of programmes with its commencement under the new management from April 01.

An over night pirith chanting ceremony will be held in Katunayake on March 31 and the new catering service which will be starting off from April 01 has made arrangements to treat its passengers worldwide with truly Sri Lankan sweet meats on board in all SriLankan Airline flights scheduled on April 01.

Meanwhile, Port and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa has instructed the new management of SriLankan Airlines to take immediate measures to solve long awaiting employee problems and salary problems.

Sri Lankans travelling abroad to visit their relatives living there and Sri Lankans who are living abroad, returning to visit their relatives here using SriLankan Airlines will be offered special concessionary rates under news plans.

A policy decision has also been taken to use SriLankan Airlines in all foreign visits of all VIPs and Government officials as well.

The new management of SriLankan Airlines expects to elevate it as the State Airline under commercial standards.


New frequent flyer program fro "SriLankan"

SriLankan Airlines has launched ‘SmiLes’ a frequent flyer program replacing Skywards, following the withdrawal of former partner Emirates.

SmiLes will have three tiers of membership – Gold, Silver, and Blue – according to how many miles are accrued. Every mile flown with the carrier would be credited as one mile.

Members can exchange their miles for rewards such as free air tickets to in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East; and upgrades. They also have a wide range of other benefits such as pre-assigned seating and priority wait-listing.

Gold and Silver members are entitled to use the airline’s lounge at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, priority check-in, free excess baggage (up to 12 kg for Silver and 16 kg for Gold), priority baggage delivery, family bonus, and fast track facility (for Gold members).

To qualify for Silver membership passengers must earn over 25,000 miles or fly a minimum of 20 sectors within a calendar year. Gold membership is for those with more than 50,000 miles or 40 sectors within a calendar year.

Existing Skywards members have a choice of transferring their Skywards Miles to SmiLes in full or in part.


Sri Lankan Airlines redoubles efforts to bring in tourists from India

SriLankan Airlines has redoubled its efforts aimed at bringing more tourists to Sri Lanka from India, in support of the country’s tourism industry.

Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, said: “We are fully focused on our responsibility as the National Carrier to support our own tourism industry, although the airline itself has a thriving business in transit passengers travelling through our hub in Colombo.”

SriLankan’s most recent promotion in India offers discounted fares throughout the month of February for Indian travellers below the age of 27 to enjoy exciting holidays in Sri Lanka. One condition of the offer is that travellers must spend a minimum of three days in Sri Lanka. In the past, travel advisories in European countries have led to drops in arrivals from some of the island’s traditional tourism markets, although tourists have never been targeted in the country’s conflict.

The airline has invested heavily in recent years in publicising Sri Lanka as a destination in India, drawing attention to its value for money shopping, wide range of cuisine, superior hotel and convention facilities, cultural wonders, and diverse climates and landscapes.

SriLankan Airlines is the only international carrier to have 100 flights per week to India, serving 11 cities there - New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Coimbatore and Calicut. Senaka Fernando, Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent & Maldives, said: “India is the largest country of origin of tourists to Sri Lanka, having replaced our earlier traditional markets in Europe every year since 2005.”

More than 100,000 Indians visited in 2007, a number that Sri Lanka Tourism says is expected to double in the next two years.

The airline is focusing attention on the short flying time, with Colombo being only about an hour away from its six destinations in South India. It has also drawn attention to Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport as the finest in South Asia, with its new terminal, aerobridges, comfortable lounges, and well-stocked duty free shopping complex.

The airline also focuses on Indian travellers on board its flights in the region, with a wide selection of North Indian, South Indian and vegetarian dishes, and a modern entertainment system which has the latest releases from Bollywood and the Tamil filmindustry.

srilankan holidays launches “island breaks” offer for the middle east

The first in the series of special promotional offers planned for the Middle East region is the ‘Island Breaks’ offer, a three month campaign up to 30th April 2008, to visit tropical Sri Lanka.

The ‘Island Breaks’ offer from SriLankan Holidays includes airfare, star class hotel accommodation with an international buffet breakfast, for two nights and three days.

General Manager - SriLankan Holidays and MICE, Amith Sumanapala said, “We have an exciting line-up of sights and experiences to create the perfect holiday for the single traveller, a couple on a romantic getaway or an entire family.”

“Your holiday begins from the time you get onboard SriLankan Airlines and it will be a world of memories the rest of the way.”

SriLankan is also actively promoting Sri Lanka as a venue for Middle East based business to host their annual meetings and events.

“Sri Lanka is a hot spot of the meetings industry and we are already attracting a lot of interest from businesses in India, the Far East and the Middle East.”

“Most recently representatives of Dubai’s Airport Operating Committee (AOC), the individuals responsible for the smooth operation of Dubai International Airport flew here for their annual fellowship and we are happy to say they thoroughly enjoyed their island break.”

SriLankan Holidays is the leisure marketing arm of SriLankan Airlines, which operates daily flights Dubai and Abu Dhabi to its Colombo hub. Passengers transiting through Colombo can conveniently connect with SriLankan Airlines’ flights to eleven key cities in India, the Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan and Hong Kong

Daya Aviation to expand domestic operations

The Daya Air Lines the newest entrant to Daya Group of Companies under Daya Aviation (Pvt) Ltd, will purchase new air craft to strengthen their domestic operations. Group Director of Daya Group of Companies, D.T. Kingsley Bernard told Daily News Business this will be a passenger aircraft and the company has made arrangements to purchase the aircraft this year.
Since there are restrictions on traveling to Jaffna overland there is a huge demand created for air travel.
Talking about the local aviation industry Bernard said though there are number of players in the industry it is less competitive. "There is a shortage of experienced pilots and aircraft engineers in the industry.
It is important to have experienced aircraft engineers to maintain high standards in flight safety.
Not in Sri Lanka even in India industry need over 5000 pilots", he said. "Local aviation industry needs to focus on establishing pilot training schools and technical colleges for aircraft engineers. Industry has the potential of training pilots and aircraft engineers to fulfill the regional requirements.
Local aviation industry could earn a large amount of foreign exchange through this sector", he said.
Bernard said the company also expects to expand its operation to regional level. "This year we will be focusing on strengthening our domestic operations and company will have more new investments in this year", he added.
Talking about the future plans of Daya Group of Companies Bernard said they will venture into bio fertiliser business and leisure industry this year.


Mihin Lanka pulls out of three destinations

Mihin Lanka which launched flights to six destinations in South India, East Asia and the Middle East has now been compelled to reduce them to three destinations from April with flights in South India already been suspended. The two weekly flights now in operation to Bangkok will be suspended from the end of this month.

The airline now operates flights only to Singapore, Bangkok, Maldives and Dubai, a spokesperson of the flights reservation desk said.

“We do not know when the suspended flights will be resumed. The flights to Trivandrum and Trichy were suspended due to poor bookings. We have postponed our plans to start flights to several other destinations in east and west Asia,” she said.

She said there has been a sharp drop in bookings in almost all destinations since the unscheduled and abrupt landing of a Mihin Air flight in Mumbai in January due to a technical failure.

“The negative publicity received after that incident has affected the airline badly,” she said.

Civil Aviation Director General Parakrama Dissanayaka said the airline has renewed its annual “Air Operation Safety’ certificate recently as the first certificate issued at the inception would expire by the end of this month.

Mihin Lanka operates its flights with a 320 Airbus obtained on a wet lease from a Bulgarian company. The company did not use a second aircraft obtained on wet lease from Turkey last year, Mr. Dissanayaka told the Daily Mirror.

Attempts to reach Mihin Lanka Chairman Sajin Vas Gunaweardana or Head of Finance Sajeeewa Swaris failed yesterday as there was no response from the head office.

Original Artical


SriLankan makes Colombo a transit hub

SriLankan Airlines is fast turning Colombo into a hub for air travel, steadily increasing the number of passengers in transit through the island’s international airport.

Three years ago, only 28 per cent of passengers carried by SriLankan through Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) were in transit - a little over a quarter. The bulk of travellers were tourists visiting Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans returning from overseas.

Today, the number of transit passengers has more than doubled, and the total number of passengers carried by the airline has increased by a third. Nearly half of its traffic (46 per cent) is now transit passengers, a number that is continuously increasing.

“We at SriLankan take great pride in offering rapid connectivity to travellers through Colombo, in order to maximise convenience. We actively work towards minimising waiting periods which we know is one of the most annoying aspects of international air travel,” said CEO of SriLankan Peter Hill.

The rise in transit passengers has been as steady as it has been impressive, from 28 per cent in 2003/04 to 36 per cent the next year, 42 per cent in 2005/06, to the current 46 per cent.

Transit numbers remained steady at 46 per cent during the six-month period between April and September 2007, despite flight schedules being disrupted for several months due to a temporary night-time closure of BIA. With the airport now back to its 24-hour operation, the number is expected to increase.

BIA boasts of some of the most modern comforts and amenities among airports anywhere, and has a reputation as the finest in South Asia. Although it does not compare in size to the world’s major hubs, it has a new terminal with modern aerobridges, sophisticated passenger counters and baggage handling systems, and a well-stocked duty free shopping complex.

SriLankan’s business class lounge there has drawn praise from high-end travellers as being second to none.

With SriLankan having positioned Colombo as the gateway to India, a large proportion of transit passengers are flying to and from the 11 cities that the airline serves there.

SriLankan last year became the first foreign carrier to operate 100 weekly flights to India. It is a firm favourite among South Indian labour traffic to the Middle East, North Indians travelling to the Far East for leisure, and Indians domiciled overseas who are visiting their country of origin. The airline’s route network now serves 54 cities in 28 countries.

Original Artical

Pilots abandon Sri Lankan Airlines for Indian shores

After the Dubai-based carrier Emirates pulled out 43 per cent equity stake from Sri Lankan Airline, over 28 pilots whose contracts are nearing an end are up for grabs by Indian carriers.
The initial 10 year contract between the two airlines expires in April this year and will not be renewed, according to Emirates.
For the airlines in India looking to expand internationally, skilled and experienced pilots from Sri Lankan Airlines flying wide-body aircraft are more than welcome. Both the leading carriers, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines, have reportedly hired from the Sri Lankan carrier.
The airlines in India do not want to come on record over the issue as “the matter is being now discussed between the governments of the two countries”, said an airline executive.
But confirming that the India-based airlines have been approached by these pilots, a source from a leading private airlines said, “At least 5-10 captains from the Sri Lankan Airlines are seeking recruitment with our airline.”
“We are seeking captains for the Airbus wide-bodies which will be put on the long-haul routes. We will get at least 10 of these aircraft this year, for which approximately 250 pilots are required,” said a Kingfisher Airlines source who did not want to be named.
Jet Airways, however, admitted that it hired Sri Lankan Airlines’ pilots earlier. “We have six ex-Sri Lankan pilots flying A330s. But they joined us quite some back,” said Jet’s CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
Even carriers in West Asia are eyeing the pilot booty. Gulf Air said, “If pilots are available and seeking employment, it is good for airlines world-wide. We are not confirming at this stage that we are recruiting from the Sri Lankan Airlines, but if capable pilots are there why not? (recruit them)."
The spokesperson for Sri Lankan Airlines from Colombo told Business Standard, “Officials in the right capacity to comment on the issue are in transit or are in foreign locales and they will not be able to make any comments.” The paper did got in touch with an official in transit, but he refused to comment.

Original artical


Lies, deceit and scams: The Sajin Vaas's Mihin lanka story

  • Confidence trickster taking 20 million Sri Lankans for a ride

  • Rs. 2 Billion in 12 months – and rising, with interest payment at Rs 1 million plus per day

  • Top Government officials unwittingly roped in and at risk

By Hawkeye
Every politician in the world needs and has assistants. Their role is simply that: to assist their principal to accomplish various goals – be it political or personal.

But the story of Sajin De Vaas Gunawardena is a phenomenally rare one. For, he has taken the friendship and gratitude of one man and abused that generosity to an extent that the political hierarchy of Sri Lanka is at grave risk.
Sajin Vaas Gunawardena’s story has brought new meaning to the words “embarrassment” and “fraud”.

Sajin Vaas has proved himself to be a habitual phony. His capabilities had much in store for him. Yet, inherently, his nature is that of a confidence trickster. He plans, from the outset, what his goal would be – that, in itself, is no bad thing. However, most successful people plan on their goal being achieved via the opportunities presented to them, opportunities they have created for themselves, in order to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

This artical was publish in The nation news paper. Click here for Full story............................... .


Sri Lankan exits skywards says Emirates

COLOMBO - SriLankan Airlines will be making an exit from Skywards, the loyalty programme for frequent fliers of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, according Skywards’ February newsletter.

“The existing management agreement between Emirates and SriLankan Airlines expires on March 31, 2008, when the management control of SriLankan Airlines will revert to the Government of Sri Lanka. The termination of this arrangement will result in SriLankan Airlines ceasing to be part of the Skywards programme,” the newsletter says.

Chandana Desilva, SriLankan Airline’s head of corporate communication, also confirm this when contacted by TNS. “With the management contract between the two airlines being terminated on March 31 this year, we will not be Skywards partners with Emirates,” he said.

The Emirates newsletter further urged Skywards members to remain assured that their Skywards membership will continue even beyond the termination of SriLankan’s participation in the programme.

“We can confirm that SriLankan Airlines will cease to be part of the Skywards programme when the existing management agreement between Emirates and SriLankan Airlines expires on March 31, 2008. Until that date, Skywards members can continue to earn and redeem miles on both airlines as per the existing programme rules,” said an Emirates’ spokesperson.

“Existing members will continue to be a part of the programme, post SriLankan Airline’s departure. More information about changes in the Skywards programme will be communicated to our members soon,” he further said.

Meanwhile Emirates having valued its stake in SriLankan at about $150 million is still looking out for buyers, according to Emirates’ President Tim Clark. There have been talks about the Sri Lankan government buying that stake but no decision has been arrived at as yet.

Also the Gulf carrier Qatar Airways and two Indian airlines, Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways, are likely contenders to pick up a stake in SriLankan Airlines. Emirates’ President Tim Clark had said that his airline is open to the idea of selling in full or part its 43.6 per cent share in the airline for an estimated fair value of $150 million.

Sri Lankan spokesperson Chandana Desilva said Qatar Airways is a strong contender among the possible Gulf airlines. But Qatar Airways’ spokesperson, Salam Al Shawa, denied the report, saying: “The Doha-based carrier is not interested in picking up a stake in the airline.”


More flights to Pakistan

Sri Lanka is looking at increasing its airline frequency to Pakistan. Daily frequencies to both Karachi and Lahore are being considered.

Currently there are three weekly flights being operated to Karachi and two to Lahore. SriLankan Airlines were compelled to cease operations to Karachi in July 2001 because of the loss of half of its fleet due to the Colombo Airport attack.

SriLankan Airlines recommenced its operations to Karachi with effect from June 2003 and presently operates three frequencies per week, an Airport and Aviation officials said.

Liberalisation of Air Services between the two countries would lead to development of not only the aviation sector, but also the tourism and industrial sectors. Sri Lanka currently enjoys a liberalised air services regime with other countries in the region notably India, Maldives, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

In keeping with the SAARC declaration both Sri Lanka and Pakistan should encourage people to people contact through the creation of an improved air transport regime and must therefore, further look towards liberalizing the air services arrangements between the two countries.

Liberalization of Air Services between the countries of the SAARC Region would also definitely enhance the develop the individuals markets and also create a much stronger bond within the region.

In order for the trade service sectors of both countries to fully reap the benefits under the Free Trade Agreement which is now finalised, a strong and vibrant air link is vital.

The need for liberalisation of the Air Services Regime between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was taken up at the bilateral discussions held during the recent State visit to Pakistan by the President of Sri Lanka.

These issues will be taken up with Pakistan Authorities during forthcoming negotiations, Aviation Ministry sources said.


Direct flights to Sri Lanka from Turky

Turkish Civil Aviation Directorate General (SHGM) has signed an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka to start direct flights between the two countries.

Ali Ariduru, the Civil Aviation DG, visited Sri Lankan capital Colombo on February 6 and signed the deal on February 8, raising the number of countries with which Turkey has air transportation agreements to 89.

Under the agreement, Turkish Airlines (THY), Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka Airlines will arrange flights between the two countries.

Sri Lanka Jan tourist arrivals up 0.6 pct vs yr ago

COLOMBO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in January crept up a better-than-expected, 0.64 percent compared with a year earlier, given an esclalation in violence on the island.

January arrivals edged up to 56,916, from 56,553 in the same month a year ago, the island state's tourist authority said.

"The visit of the spiritual leader of the Bohra community, attracted over 8,000 devotees in January," said Renton de Alwis, chairman of the state-run Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, referring to an ethnic Muslim group in Pakistan and India.

"Tourist confidence on Sri Lanka also helped us to maintain the arrivals in January."

Industry officials said the rise in January tourists arrivals was an achievement in light of heightened violence between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels after the government scraped a six-year truce in that month.

The violence claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, mostly rebels, in January alone.

Although the country's popular tourist destinations are not in the zone of conflict, sporadic bomb blasts in and around the capital Colombo pose a major threat to the tourism industry, officials said.

This year, the tourism authority aims to have 600,000 foreign visitors to Sri Lanka and a 43 percent increase in foreign earnings from tourism to $550 million, de Alwis said.

Sri Lanka failed to achieve last year's target of 600,000 tourist arrivals due to the violence.

Tourist arrivals fell 11.7 percent to 494,008 in 2007 from a year earlier, as the renewed civil war deterred potential visitors, while earnings from tourism fell 6.1 percent to $385 million in last year, compared with $410 million in 2006.

Industry officials attributed the drop to a sharp fall in arrivals between March and June, after Tamil Tiger rebels bombed an air base next to the only international airport.

Some foreign embassies also advised their nationals to avoid war-affected areas.

Nearly 70,000 people have died since 1983 and around 6,000 people since late 2006 in the country's two-decade-old civil war.

Tourism is one of the key sources of foreign exchange in the $27 billion economy, the others being garments, foreign remittances and tea.

Original Artical:-Reuters


Can Hyderabad beat colombo to become South Asia cargo hub

Hyderabad is likely to emerge as the cargo hub of Southeast Asia with the new international airport at Shamshabad, 30 km from town area, handling a bulk of express cargo and courier services from the region.

The greenfield airport, which will become operational on March 16, will have a world class cargo handling facility. The cargo handling and courier services have been planned and executed after studying similar facilities at leading international airports around the world, in Japan, the UK, the US and Malaysia.

Official say"We have asked DHL Express, who were planning to go to Sri Lanka, to come to Hyderabad. We offered them land and they accepted Hyderabad as the centre of the their Southeast Asia operations,"

Can Hyderabad beat colombo to become South Asia cargo hub?

Srilankan Airlines offers 100 flights a week to India

SriLankan Airlines is proud to become the first foreign airline to operate one hundred flights per week to India. Sri Lanka’s National Carrier reached the important milestone when it added another weekly flight to its existing services to Trichy recently.
SriLankan Airlines is extremely proud to be the first foreign carrier in history to fly one hundred times a week to India. We recognised very early the important role that India plays in this part of the world, and we have been steadily increasing the number of flights, and the cities that we serve.
Coimbatore became SriLankan’s 11th destination in India. It operates two flights a day to Chennai and Mumbai, and daily or more frequent flights to New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trichy, Trivandrum, Kochi, and Calicut. There are four flights to Coimbatore, and three to Goa.
Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, said: “We offer Indian travellers rapid connections via Colombo to our 54 destinations in 28 countries throughout the world. Cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and London, are very popular with our Indian passengers.”
SriLankan carried 1.1 million passengers to and from India in the 2006/07 financial year, which accounted for 35% of the airline’s global traffic. The airline works very actively to bring tourists into India, promoting the country’s many tourism sites. It has formal partnerships with many tourism authorities such as the Kerala Department of Tourism.
Colombo’s geographical location at the southern tip of the Subcontinent makes it the ideal gateway to India. The excellent facilities at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport have earned it the reputation of being the finest airport in South Asia. A recent modernization programme there saw the construction of a new terminal with aerobridges, comfortable lounges, and a well-stocked duty free shopping complex that is second to none in the region.
Senaka Fernando, Regional Manager Indian Subcontinent & Maldives, said: “SriLankan is making a conscious effort to serve smaller cities in India, where travellers do not have access to international air travel as most other airlines are intent on serving the large cities.”
SriLankan is a firm favourite among Indians domiciled abroad, and provides seamless connections to travel home from cities such as New York, Houston, London, Paris, and Frankfurt where there are large Indian populations. It also serves the growing number of Indian students abroad, and is one of the largest carriers of Indian labour traffic to and from the Middle East where it serves nine cities.
The airline often provides special travel packages to Indian customers to travel overseas for business or pleasure, especially through its leisure arm SriLankan Holidays, and even throws in free nights in Colombo. With its value-for-money shopping – original name brand clothing, Ceylon tea, high class porcelainware, and exquisite gemstones - Sri Lanka is a popular destination among leisure travellers from India, which is the largest nation of origin for the island’s tourism industry.
The excellent conference facilities in Sri Lanka are also heavily patronised by Indian companies. The island offers the opportunity to take company staff overseas, while having the convenience of being only an hour’s flying from South India and three hours from New Delhi and Mumbai.
SriLankan has won many awards for its operations to India, including the Galileo Indian Express Award for Best Eastbound International Airline. Its global and regional accolades include “World’s Best Airline” in a survey of Economy Class passengers; “World’s Friendliest Cabin Staff”; first runner-up for “World’s Best Cabin Staff”; Best Airline in Central Asia four consecutive years; and Best Airline in South Asia three times

Cathay Pacific has announced it'll flight schedules.

Cathay Pacific has announced it'll flight schedules.It'll relaunch 3 weekly via Bangkok and 4 weekly via Singapore service.It will resume its passenger services to and from Colombo, with effect from 30 March 2008

CX703 HKG1835 - 2015BKK2230 - 0015+1CMB 773 247
CX711 HKG1615 - 2000BKK2130 - 2245CMB 773 x247


Cathay Pacific to resume services to Colombo

Cathay Pacific Airways announced that it will resume its passenger services to and from Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, with effect from 30 March 2008. The airline will operate a daily service using a Boeing B777-300 aircraft routed through either Bangkok or Singapore.

Three flights a week, operating as CX703, will go via Bangkok every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, departing Hong Kong at 18.35 and arriving in Colombo at 00.15 the next day. The return CX700 service departs Sri Lanka at 01.45, arriving in Hong Kong at 12.10.

On all other days of the week the flight will be routed through Singapore. CX711 departs Hong Kong at 16.15 and arrives in Sri Lanka at 22.45, while the return CX710 service departs Colombo at 00.15 on the following day and lands in Hong Kong at 12.15.

Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development Augustus Tang said: “We are very pleased to be able to resume services to and from Colombo. Sri Lanka is an important market for both passengers and cargo and getting the destination back into our network will certainly be beneficial for the Hong Kong hub.”

Cathay Pacific suspended its operations to Colombo in April 2007 due to security concerns. The airline did a thorough audit before making the decision to resume flights and is confident that new security measures in place at Colombo airport meet the airline’s exacting safety requirements.

The news about the resumption of Colombo flights follows on the heels of a recent announcement about increased services to India. Cathay Pacific will add 10 flights a week to Delhi and six flights a week to Mumbai by 30 March. In addition, it will launch Chennai as a destination on 1 June, with four flights a week, while sister airline Dragonair will begin a daily flight to Bangalore on 1 May.

The Cathay Pacific Group as a whole will operate 53 passenger flights a week from Hong Kong to five countries on the subcontinent – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – by June 2008.


Double blow for visit visa holders

Unsuspecting Sri Lankans leaving the Colombo International Airport for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on visit visas are been ripped off by a draconian new labour regulation that requires them to pay large fees to the authorities despite holding a return ticket.

The formerly unannounced regulation that came into effect two weeks ago has caught dozens of Gulf-bound passengers unaware, and most of them were off-loaded by determined staff from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment who are stationed at the Colombo airport.

The new regulation states that all passengers holding visit visas and bound for Gulf destinations will have to pay a refundable fee as insurance to the Bureau. Failing to do so means they will be turned away from the airport, Labour officials with the Diplomatic Mission in the UAE said.

They say this was largely due to the fact that the bulk of those leaving on visit visas, are actually job hunters who do not return to the country for a considerable period of time. These visit visa holders on landing in the UAE secure employment but must leave the country and re-enter on their sponsor’s work visa. To do this they do not have to go back to Sri Lanka. Most of them leave for neighbouring Iran and return to Dubai where their work visas are then endorsed. Employment on visit visas is a punishable offence in the Emirates.

However the regulation is also confusing since it does not state the exact fee. According to officials the fee will be charged according to the category of those leaving. For example housemaids and other low-income wage earners will be charged less while executives much more.

However, the honest traveller will also be caught up with this regulation, the officials admit, while adding that the Bureau officials will have to use their own discretion when selecting those who have to pay the fee. However another saddening issue is that the low-cost budget airline Mihin Lanka has also cashed into the misery of the travellers.

Since the regulation came into force dozens of persons booked on Mihin Lanka and who were unable to pay the fee and subsequently off-loaded at Colombo had to forfeit their tickets as well. Mihin Lanka does not refund the value of tickets if the passenger does not make it on the scheduled flight. Enraged passengers claim that the airline never informed them about this regulation and as a result they were taken unawares at the airport. They were not only forced to pay the fee, but also had to purchase a fresh ticket. A single journey ticket on Mihin Lanka, Colombo-Dubai sector costs AED 600 (SL Rs. 17,000).

A Trico International spokesperson in Dubai which handles the bulk of the ticketing for Mihin Lanka told The Sunday Times that this was most unfortunate, but said it was up to the Colombo office to give prior notice to the passengers.“If this was not been done in Colombo, then there is very little we can do over here,” he said.

Article published in Sunday times.


SriLankan Airlines expands

SriLankan Airlines is fast turning Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) into into a hub for air travel, steadily increasing the number of passengers in transit through the airport.

Three years ago, only 28% of passengers carried by SriLankan through Colombo’s BIA were in transit - a little over a quarter. The bulk of travellers were tourists visiting Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans returning from overseas.

Today, the number of transit passengers has more than doubled, and the total number of passengers carried by the airline has increased by a third. Nearly half of its traffic (46%) is now transit passengers, a number that is continuously increasing.

Peter Hill, CEO of SriLankan, said: “We at SriLankan take great pride in offering rapid connectivity to travellers through Colombo, in order to maximise convenience. We actively work towards minimising waiting periods which we know is one of the most annoying aspects of international air travel.”

The rise in transit passengers has been as steady as it has been impressive, from 28% in 2003/04 to 36% the next year, 42% in 2005/06, to the current 46%.

Transit numbers remained steady at 46% during the six-month period between April and September 2007, despite flight schedules being disrupted for several months due to a temporary night-time closure of BIA. With the airport now back to its 24-hour operation, the number is expected to increase.

Manoj Gunawardena, Head of Worldwide Passenger Sales, said: “We offer passengers a one-stop option for travel between regions as far apart as Europe and the Far East. Our flight arrival and departure banks are constantly being improved to reduce long transit times. However BIA is perhaps the best airport in the region to spend time if a passenger has to.”

With SriLankan Airlines having positioned Colombo as the Gateway to India, a large proportion of transit passengers are flying to and from the 11 cities that the airline serves there. SriLankan last year became the first foreign carrier to operate 100 weekly flights to India. The airline’s route network now serves 54 cities in 28 countries.

But an increasing number of travellers are using Colombo from other regions. These include Middle Eastern travellers on vacation en route to the Far East; Europeans travelling to the Maldives and Thailand; and Japanese heading for the Maldives.


Export promotion display and sales centre of edb at Bandaranaike International Airport – Katunayake

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board has taken steps to establish Export Promotion Display and Sales Centre of EDB at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.

The opening ceremony of this Export Promotion Display and Sales Centre of EDB at the Bandaranaike International Airport will take place on 7th February 2008 at the Katunayake Airport under the patronage of Hon. Prof. G.L. Pieris, the Minister of Export Development and International Trade and Hon. Chamal Rajapakse , Minister of Ports & Aviation and Irrigation & Water Management.

The establishment of Export Promotion and Display Centre is a significant effort initiated by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board under the purview of the Ministry of Export Development & International Trade to promote and develop products of SME’s displaying their products.

The development of export sector specially SMEs is a key area highlighted under the Mahinda Chinthanaya . The national policy based on Mahinda Chinthanaya , emphasizes the importance of the role played by the business community to help build the national economy and also provide various assistance to maintain their success.

Consequent to a request by the National Council for the Economic Development (NECD), the Government proposed to establish a permanent Display Centre at the Bandaranaike International Airport by the budget speech of 2005. In para 48 of the Budget Speech of 2005 , it was declared that the showroom space would be allocated at the arrival and departure lounges of the BIA and the exemption VAT applicable to imported goods purchased from the duty free shops for payment in foreign currency would be extended to locally supplied goods as means of popularizing Sri Lankan products.

As the apex state organization for export development, Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) was entrusted with the task of operating and managing the Centre at the airport.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board being the responsible organization to implement this programme has made all efforts to be a reality involved in various activities during the last three years. SLEDB had various discussions and negotiations with various authorities to make this event a success.

The objective of the establishment of a permanent display centre at this Bandaranaike International Airport is to popularize Sri Lankan export products around the globe.

It is an acceptable factor that one of the best attractive places to display products for the purpose of promoting would be the airports and sea ports where the foreign tourists arrives and depart. Today, we have only one place where we can see the arrival and departure of foreigners ie., only Bandaranaike International Airport. Therefore, the opening of display centres of this nature at the airport is a new effort for promotion and development of exports. The target group of the Sri Lanka Display Centre is tourists and locals arriving and departing through Katunayake Airport. This will be a Sri Lankan product showcase for exportable products and will provide opportunities for the participating export companies to introduce and sell quality products.


Cochin International Airport Ltd may bag deal to build Sri Lankan (weerawila)airport

Weerawila International airport

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) - India's first airport built with private-public sector participation - may bag a deal to build a greenfield airport in Sri Lanka, the company said Thursday in a statement here.

A seven-member CIAL delegation, headed by managing director S. Bharath, is at present in the island nation and has held several rounds of talks with government ministers. It has also met President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Weerawila International airport-site plan

'On Jan 29, we (the delegation) were taken in a special Sri Lankan Air Force plane to the airport site at Weerawila in southern Sri Lanka for a visit and study,' the statement said.

'The proposed airport site is 15 km away from Hambanota in the southern province of Sri Lanka and around 300 km from Colombo. It is also the political constituency of Rajapaksa.'

Rajapaksa - on a visit to the famous Guruvayoor temple in Kerala two years ago - himself mooted the idea of CIAL building the airport in his country.

'The Sri Lankan president and other officials expressed satisfaction at the discussions held. The minister for ports and aviation informed us that they are keen to take the project forward and has requested all possible assistance from CIAL for this purpose.'

'A delegation of senior officials from the Sri Lankan government and the Airport Authority of Sri Lanka would visit CIAL within next few months to study our facilities here and to hold further discussions in the matter,' the company statement said.

Sri lankan girl dies in Saudi Arabian Airline flight

A Sri Lankan maid who left the Saudi Arabia on Saturday (27th)morning on Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV784 died en route to Colombo.

The woman, Letchumi Devi Rasiah, 30 from thalawakele, was returning home on an exit visa after spending one year and 10 months in the Kingdom. The cabin crew gave medical aid when Letchumi developed chest pain two hours after the aircraft left Riyadh.

An airline official in Colombo said that the entire crew had done its best to save the woman. “She was given oxygen and first aid was administered but to no avail.”

L. Ruhunuge, assistant general manager for foreign relations at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), said that he had informed the woman’s parents who would come to claim the body being kept at a morgue in Negombo, some seven kilometers from the Colombo airport.

An autopsy was done yesterday afternoon to establish the exact cause of death.


Weerawila: Clearing ground realities before take-off

Acres of lush paddy fields, the livelihood of an entire farming community, diverse plant and wildlife - will they be under serious threat if plans to set up the country’s second international airport in Weerawila go through? Residents have launched a series of protests against the proposed development, but have had little success in convincing the authorities that it will have many adverse impacts both on the environment and the community.

The Sri Lanka Nature Forum and the Swarna Hansa Foundation earlier this month drew attention to what they saw as the shortcomings of Weerawila as a prospective site for an international airport.

“The Centre for Research and Development compiled an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the Airport and Aviation Services, but this report was not accepted by the Central Environment Authority,” said Thilak Kariyawasam, Co-ordinator of the SLNF. The report had indicated that Weerawila is the most suitable location for a new airport, and that the effects of building an airport would not have a lasting negative impact on the environment.

Weerawila’s largely farming community is, understandably disturbed by the threat to their livelihood and well-being, which they see as being sacrificed in the face of development. “Most of us came to live in this area because we had an affinity to the land and a passion for farming,” said - Prematilleke, a representative of this community. “The area on which we work yields a harvest of about 3500 kg of rice per acre, and this will all be destroyed if the airport is built.”

Many organizations, environmentalists included, have voiced their concerns on the damage inflicted on the environment if the project goes ahead.

Weerawila is home to some of the island’s richest wetlands, and many endemic and migratory birds. According to environmentalists, the Environmental Impact Assessment report addresses this issue, but has not paid adequate attention to it. The report states that the new airport will not pose a serious threat to the resident and migratory birds that take refuge in Weerawila.

However, The Sunday Times learns that the level of sound from the airport could reach even beyond the borders of the Bundala Wildlife Sanctuary.“According to the report, there are a very few migratory birds in the area. This argument has no basis, for the research into this aspect of the report has been done prior to the migratory season.The revised version also had a survey conducted outside the migrant season,” pointed out Udaya Siriwardene of the Ceylon Bird Club speaking to The Sunday Times.

The new report should have been compiled on the basis of fresh data, but actually the old data had only been slightly revised in the new draft, he said. The SLNF and the Swarna Hansa Foundation also revealed that prior to any incoming flight at the Bandaranaike International Airport, birds in the vicinity are shot down to prevent accidents. The two organizations expressed concern that the same situation could arise in Weerawila.

Bird strikes are a serious problem in airports, with some 35% of aircraft accidents occurring due to them. The report says that the risk of bird strikes in Weerawila is low. This conclusion is reached by comparing Weerawila with the Katunayake Airport, where there is an astonishingly small number of birds due to the frequent bird killings.

One of the many birds found in Bundala

According to statistics compiled by the IUCN (World Conservation Union), a total of 759 species of plants and wildlife, some endemic, are found in Weerawila. The environmental impact report glosses over these details, and there are a great number of discrepancies between the statistics presented in the report and actual fact, the SLNF spokesperson added.

The report also stated that Weerawila holds no historic significance, but research done by the Archaeological Department of the University of Kelaniya, indicates that the area is of historic importance- excavations have found a number of weapons and implements used by people of the prehistoric era.

“As of now, construction of the airport has not begun, as the project does not have the approval of the CEA . The foundation stone was laid by the President in 2006, and a police post currently stands guard at this place. An attempt was made to commence construction, but the Weerawila community strongly opposed this, staging protests and demonstrations at the site,” Mr. Kariyawasam said. Environmentalists are hoping that their voices and those of the villagers will be heard before any further development take place.

Source: sunday times


Sri Lanka invites Cochin airport builders for new airport

Cochin international airport

Sri Lanka wants builders of Cochin International Airport to construct an airport in Sri lanka. Talks on the proposal will begin in Colombo Jan 28.

The Cochin airport is India's first airport built under public-private partnership. Kerala government and several NRIs hold stakes in the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), which built the airport and still operates it.

A seven-member CIAL delegation led by its managing director S. Bharath will hold talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other Lankan leaders on the proposal.

'The invitation for this came from Rajapaksa and we have taken this opportunity with a lot of excitement,' Bharath told IANS. The talks will be spread over six days from Jan 28, he said.

Bharath said CIAL is ready to provide a full turnkey solution for the proposed airport in Sri Lanka.

'If what they want is just the building of the airport, we are prepared for that and if they want us to take care of the operations part also, we are ready for that too. We are ready for what they want,' he said.

It was almost two years ago that Rajapaksa mooted the idea of CIAL building an airport in his country when he flew to Kochi en route to Shri Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor.

Since then CIAL and Sri Lankan government have exchanged letters on the issue, resulting in a formal invitation from the Sri Lankan president for talks, Bharath said.

CIAL has been making profits since its inception in 1999 and is all set for major expansion with 18 different projects, that include a Rs.6.4-billion ($162 million) IT park, an aviation academy, a maintenance and hangar unit, hotels and a golf course. These are to come up on 500 acres in its possession.

Kerala government holds 35.56 percent in CIAL, the company's directors 37 percent, and public sector banks and public sector organisations like Air India 10.61 percent, while NRIs and general public have 14.63 percent. Federal Bank and other private commercial banks have a 2 percent stake in the company.


Bombthreat - AirEuropa flight recaled to airport

AirEuropa flight is recalled to check it again because of a bomb threat.Security searching is still going on. AirEuropa is not a regular flight and it's coming once in two weeks. Its travelling from Colombo- Frankfurt.


Mihin Lanka may take over Indian routes from SriLankan Airlines:'Sajeen was Gunawardena

Today Indian site called TtravelBizMonitor.com reports that Mihin lanka is going to take srilankan airline's Indian sub Continent routes.Full story follows ....

And Mihin Lanka going to resume there servises to india from 18th january 2007.It's not clear why they stop Indian services until now.

Full story in Travel Biz Monitor

30Years of catering monopoly ends

A second catering firm has set up shop in Sri Lanka's international airport in Katunayake, breaking a 30 year monopoly held by Sri Lankan Airlines.For the full details pl. click the link bellow.

LBO article

Air force officers robbed foreigner

Aviation security staff and Air force

On 12th January 2008 one foreigner came to the airport to go to his homeland(Germany) after a couple of weeks visit in sri lanka. He has only got 500 euros in his pocket. Moment before he was come threw the walk threw metal detector, he put his wallet in to his bag for the x'ray screening.

After that Air force officer ordered to open the bag and checked. While foreigner was collecting his other bags air force officer took 100 euro note of the foreigners wallet without a knowledge of the foreigner and gave it to a another officer. 2nd mention officer gave that to third officer well known as micro ushi kumara.

This whole story was filmed and watched by vigilant aviation security officer who worked as CCTV operator and he informed it to his Superior for further investigation.

Aviation security personal told "We heard,We saw, lot of bad things like this in the past done by some air force officers,But no one got punished or not taken a single action. I am sure this time also will be same"

This blogger got a chance to speake with the above mention foreigner. He said" I was shocked,Why? because this was d0ne by a government air force officer, this is not a mater of 100 euros, this is a matter of individual security of passengers who visit Colombo air port."

He further says " People says Colombo is a dangerous place to visit,now i have a proof for that, not because of terrorist, because of sri lanka air force"

"As I believe these passenger screening should done by aviation security personals because they are well trained and some trained in foreign countries only for passenger and baggage screening. Is air force train for this? All international airports have their own Aviation security division and all security duties done by aviation security personals except one country.It's Uganda."Well known Air line manager told to us.

He further says" These type of complains about air force is now common and now it's getting worse. In one meeting with Airport and Aviation minister we requested to remove air force in terminal who done work which should be done by aviation security"

Taking whole security situation in airport as one incident this bloggers believe well trained (for passenger and baggage screening ) aviation security is much much better than air fore for the airport terminal duties and security. But we are not telling Aviation security is perfect. they are good at it. Let them do it.


"Emirates" expect "srilankan" to go down?

Shocking articale was published on emirates business 24/7.Here is the full article.

The revenues of Dubai-based airline Emirates will not take a beating after it ends its 10-year management contract with SriLankan, a senior executive said.

Emirates ended its contract with SriLankan on January 6, but retained its 43.6 per cent stake in the South Asian carrier. Emirates’ President Tim Clark said the airline is open to selling the stake for an estimated $150 million (Dh550.5m).

“Our exit from SriLankan will not dent our revenues. Emirates never got any huge returns from the Sri Lankan carrier anyway. In fact, we were putting in a lot of systems, technologies and best practices in place for SriLankan on a cost basis,” Clark told Emirates Business by telephone.

The two carriers going separate ways is likely to be a bigger blow for SriLankan.

“I think we might see Emirates increase service on its planes to take up the traffic as SriLankan winds down… as it will. The Colombo-based carrier’s revenues will drop because people will have less confidence in the airline,” said Addison Schonland, a California-based aviation analyst with Innovation Analysis Group.

“The implications are not good for Sri Lanka. Gone will be the talent and guidance. The airline has been run by foreigners for a long time now, and few will take up the mantle given the nature of the country’s heavy hand.

“This is, in short, bad news for Sri Lanka,” he said.

According to media reports in Sri Lanka, the SriLankan Airlines Group achieved a net profit of LKR862.18m (Dh30m) for the financial year 2006-2007, down 50 per cent from the previous year.

The airline made a profit of LKR568.04m, an increase of LKR91.51m over the previous year’s LKR476.53 million. This was the fifth year in succession that the Group, which consists of SriLankan and its fully owned subsidiary SriLankan Catering, recorded a profit.

There have also been reports in the local media of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka slowing down because of the growing political unrest in the country.

SriLankan braces for a rough ride

SriLankan experienced another year of difficult trading conditions in 2007, with continuing high fuel prices and a deteriorating security situation in the country.

The planned expansion of the use of Colombo as a hub for both passenger and cargo traffic to and from South Asia, saw revenues grow by nine per cent and 17 per cent respectively in 2007 over the previous year. Such improvements, however, were not reflected in the bottom line due to the escalating cost of aviation fuel and a drop in yields.

The airline’s progress in simplifying the business to reduce cost and improve efficiency has progressed well, with e-tickets making up 40 per cent of issues and all online stations with e-ticket capabilities.

Engineering has undertaken a number of third-party maintenance checks, including Emirates aircraft, and is looking forward to build upon this profitable side. SriLankan Catering tripled capacity with a $30 million flight kitchen. SriLankan faces another difficult year ahead and, unless a solution is found to the security situation, there may not be a significant improvement in visitor arrivals to Sri Lanka, which will impact negatively on yields and airline profitability.