The Air Transport Agreement between Sri Lanka and the United States of America came into force on November 18. It was signed in June this year between Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tyronne Fernando and Colin Powell, Secretary of State, United States of America.
The ‘Open Skies’ Agreement provides the legal framework for unrestricted capacity and frequencies by the airlines of both countries including liberalized code sharing and charter arrangements.
The Agreement covers both passenger and cargo services and is expected to bring substantial economic benefits to air travelers, the business community and Sri Lankan expatriates in the USA.
The Agreement also provides for cooperation in air traffic security and safety between the two countries.
US Embassy spokesman Bruce A. Lohof speaking to the PRIU, said “The Open Skies Agreement creates opportunities to strengthen economic relations between America and Sri Lanka, through closer links in transport, trade and tourism.”
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that once operations commenced the Open Skies Agreement would be very beneficial to both countries as there would no longer be any restrictions on cargo or passenger flights. “Such a link between two countries is always profitable and we expect this to be good for Sri Lankan tourism.”
“This is especially advantageous for cargo flights because intermediate restrictions would not apply. There can be direct flights between the two countries. Direct flights reduce cargo charges. Perishable cargo such as crabs and vegetables can be sent quickly with the least amount of damage,” the spokesperson added.
spokesperson for Sri Lankan Airlines said they did not intend to make use
of this agreement immediately as they do not have the necessary aircraft
to make direct flights, but intended to make use of the code sharing
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