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.

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