Saturday, 6 July 2013 00:00
Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa officially launched Sri Lanka’s newest domestic airline, Cinnamon Air, at a function held at the Waters Edge hotel in Battaramulla on Thursday.
The Defence Secretary graced the launching event as the Chief Guest where a new Cessna 208 amphibious aircraft made a brief inaugural flight taking off from a specially built water aerodrome on the banks of Diyawanna Lake at Waters Edge. Five lucky passengers were selected from a draw by the Secretary to be onboard the first flight. A special memento was also presented to the Secretary during the ceremony.
The dawn of peace has opened up new horizons for tourism and industry in the island. Since 2009, the country has witnessed a tremendous growth in tourist arrival. The opening up of the north and east has created a huge demand for air transport. The Government has taken steps to improve existing ground aircraft handling facilities including new runways and terminals. The recently opened Iranamadu airstrip is one such facility. A new passenger terminal is also operational in Palaly.
Cinnamon Air will operate amphibious aircraft on scheduled and charter passenger services, directly and on a code-share with SriLankan Airlines. The airline will launch scheduled domestic flights originating at Katunayake and offer daily flights from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to Koggala, Dickwella that will serve key south coast tourist destinations such as Galle, Koggala, Weligama, Mirissa, Dickwella and Tangalle in the south.
Cinnamon Air is owned and operated by Saffron Aviation Ltd., a BOI-approved joint venture between John Keells Holdings, MMBL Leisure Holdings and Phoenix Ventures.
Reservations for seats on Cinnamon Air flights can be made directly via the airline’s website www.cinnamonair.com.
The Diyawanna Lake and its surrounding areas are being developed under the Colombo development plan mooted by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development under the aegis of the Defence Secretary.
The new water aerodrome built here is yet another facility to promote tourism and industry under the multifaceted Colombo development project.
A large number of invitees including the Commander of the Army, industry leaders, senior Government officials and company representatives were present at the occasion.