CAA to consider open sky policy

Wednesday, 3 June 2015 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Minister calls for a  feasibility study 
  • Air India to commence daily flights to Colombo soon


By Charumini de Silva

In a bid to position Sri Lanka’s aviation industry as a prime catalyst to the growth of the national economy, the Government is now considering the implementation of an open sky policy, a senior official said.

A special committee appointed by the Aviation Services Minister will hold a meeting today to discuss the implementation of the policy and outline the focus areas going forward.

“We are now trying to open it up for international operations. After the initial meeting with the appointed committee today, we will have another meeting with the local stakeholders to consider their views before we formulate the policy,” CAA Director General Director General and Chief Executive Officer H.M.C. Nimalsiri told the Daily FT.

He explained that allowing an open sky policy would allow Sri Lanka to propel to new heights of economic development.

Nimalsiri added that the Aviation Services Minister had requested a feasibility report on the implementation of the open sky policy from the special committee that has been appointed. 

Open skies is an international policy concept that calls for the liberalisation of the rules and regulations of the international aviation industry, especially commercial aviation, in order to create a free-market environment for the airline industry.

He pointed out that the open sky policy would not result in unbridled access, but should help both Sri Lanka as well as overseas countries. “Being an island, we are heavily dependent on the air transport sector. We are trying to connect Sri Lanka to the rest of the world.”

The Director General also revealed that the national carrier of India, Air India, will start flying to Colombo on a daily basis very soon.

“Airlines are gradually increasing their frequencies and new airlines are adding Colombo as a new destination. With the implementation of the open sky policy, we are trying to give some impetus to new airlines considering Colombo,” he added.

Commenting on the domestic aviation sector, he said that hadn’t been much change and the same growth trend was expected to continue during the year.

CAA enacted the Civil Aviation Act in 2010, replacing the old Air Navigation Act No.15 of 1950. This was one of the biggest achievements of the civil aviation industry towards upgrading and providing timely legal provisions to uplift the aviation industry.

Elaborating further, he said: “When you amend an Act, it only describes the fundamentals, whereas the regulations specifically illustrate the details of the Act. Therefore, right now based on the new Act we are promulgating the regulations covering all aspects including safety, security, environmental, aircraft transport activities and aviation economic activities. Now we are in the process of formulating regulations that allow more business activities to be taken up with Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs),” he noted.