Israeli National Carrier El Al Israel Airlines to commence flight operations to Sri Lanka.
The Morning: The Ministry of Aviation has granted approval for the Israeli National Carrier El Al Israel Airlines to commence flight operations to Sri Lanka.
Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva stated that he had granted approval for the Israeli National Carrier to commence flights to Sri Lanka. However, he was unable to specify the date on which El Al Israel Airlines will commence operations in Sri Lanka.
“Granting approval to El Al Israel Airlines was held up all this time due to its request to allow two security personnel carrying weapons to accompany its flights in order to provide security to the flying crew. This was initially a concern for the Ministry of Defence. However, we have now decided to lift the relevant restrictions and it will be allowed to operate flights to Sri Lanka,” the Minister said.
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (AASL) Chairman Major General (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri confirmed that ministerial approval had been granted and that they were currently awaiting further instruction. He further stated that the AASL would take steps to commence discussions with the local agent of El Al Israel Airlines as soon as possible.
“Since approval has been granted, our marketing people are working on commencing discussions with the airline and we will work out a plan with them to bring their flights down to Sri Lanka,” he stated.
He further revealed that there was a possibility that they would be able to bring Wizz Air – an ultra-low-cost Central Asian carrier – to Sri Lanka.
“Before the economic downturn, we had concluded discussions with Wizz Air and it was all set to commence scheduled flights to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport from Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, the plan fell through because of the developments in the country. However, you never know, it could reactivate its plan and commence flights to Sri Lanka,” Chandrasiri shared.
El Al Israel Airlines is widely considered to be one of the most secure airlines in the world due to the tough security measures implemented, which include carrying at least two undercover air marshals on board every El Al flight. It is the only commercial airline to equip its planes with missile defence systems to protect its planes against surface-to-air missiles.
The increase in the number of international airlines operating flights to Colombo is indicative of the increase in foreign travellers to the country. While promoting the country’s tourism industry to woo foreign travellers to the country, local authorities are also promoting business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka to attract foreign business travellers to the country as well. The increase in the number of international flights to Sri Lanka and the steady growth in tourist arrivals to the country are indicative of the expanding business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s aviation and tourism industries. There is an increasing demand for the development of supplementary infrastructure facilities to support the growth and expansion of Sri Lanka’s aviation and tourism industries. The expanding opportunities in the tourism industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors have seen many international leisure brands expressing interest in entering Sri Lanka. Given the growth and business potential in Sri Lanka’s aviation and tourism industries, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding business/investment opportunities in these industries.
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