Special Correspondent

Colombo, New Delhi to hold talks on the issue next month

NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka is keen on having a more liberal air services agreement with India. Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ports and Aviation Mangala Samaraweera told Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday that his Government looked forward to better connectivity with India.

The two also held discussions on opening up new points for the designated Sri Lankan carrier and increasing the cargo flights to India.

Liberal air services

Though India has liberal air services agreements with all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries, Sri Lanka has utilised it to the maximum.

It is also one of the largest foreign carriers coming into India.

It was decided to hold detailed talks on enhanced air services agreement next month. As of now, the designated airlines of India to Sri Lanka are Air India, Indian, Jet Airways, Air Sahara.

For Sri Lanka, it is the SriLankan Airlines, which has daily services to six metros of India. It has unlimited access to 18 more tourist gateways in India, with a minimum of 67 services a week.

India too is entitled the same number of flights from any point to Sri Lanka as operated by the SriLankan Airlines.