Business Times

Aviation policy to boost air cargo, transshipment

A new policy change in the aviation sector has been mooted with a focus on infrastructure development and promotion of air cargo and transshipment with the participation of the country's two main carriers. SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka have been identified as the main carriers in the country that would be actively involved in policy implementation.

Currently, the policy is at the draft stage with the statement on the plans for the sector listed in a media advertisement by the Civil Aviation Ministry as a white paper proposal and calling for public comments.
In the creation of an aviation hub the government plans to use the services of the national carrier and the local budget airline to engage in matters connected with aviation in the national policy implementation, the statement said. As part of the policy it has been proposed to adopt managed liberalized air services arrangements with an eye on traffic rights; targeting key tourist markets; and the creation of city pairs.

In addition, the government will focus on maintenance, promotion and encourage new domestic airports. In a bid to attract increased tourist generating activities aero sports would be looked at keenly. And while the opening of the Southern skies has already been declared plans are underway to expand this policy to other areas as well. Infrastructure development of airports would be carried out by drawing the relevant Airport Master Plans for all airports.

In this respect, there is a focus on promoting air cargo and transshipment with the development of air cargo handling facilities and capabilities. This would be further integrated with the handling of sea cargo in coordination with the ports sector, the draft policy states. Towards achieving these goals the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) would assist in providing the necessary security measures and increased coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

In this respect, a sharing of information, personnel and equipment would be carried out through the establishment of a Joint Civil-Military Coordination Committee. Other areas related to human resource development; investment through foreign and public private partnership; consumer protection; and environment protection through zero carbon emission in aviation have also been detailed.

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