ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 49

Special landing slots for SriLankan Airlines

SriLankan Airlines has applied for and obtained special concessions for new landing slots in all European destinations, including London's Heathrow airport following the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport at night and the re-scheduling of all their outbound flights.

Chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives, Manoj Gunawardene said yesterday that the airline was granted new landing slots because foreign airports take into consideration the closure of international airports as special cases.

Henceforth, most SriLankan flights will leave at 6 a.m. and arrive in London in the afternoon.Mr. Gunawardene said that the airline was targetting a three-month duration for the new schedules, but would revert to the old schedule once the Defence Ministry gave a safety assurance to the airlines.

The airlines were awaiting a notification from the Defence Ministry on the duration the airport would remain closed, he said. With already three shut downs of the country’s sole international airport at Katunayake in a matter of four weeks due to Tiger air raids, the country’s national carrier too joined foreign airlines in suspending night flights from Colombo from Friday.

On Thursday Acting Director of Civil Aviation Parakrama Dissanayake gave airlines till May 10 to stop all late night flights and reschedule them between 4.30 a.m. and 10.30 p.m. after at least three airlines cancelled all their night flights to and from Colombo.

SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill in a statement issued in this regard while expressing his sincere regret for any inconvenience caused to the customers says, “safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft is our prime concern and one that we will not compromise under any circumstances”.

The airline has requested passengers who are holding bookings to call 0197335500 or their travel agent for further information about their flights and those making general flight inquiries to call 0197332377.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.