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 Post subject: India, Sri Lanka consider open sky policy
 Post Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 12:48 am 
India, Sri Lanka consider open sky policy

@ ANI /Tuesday , May 09, 2006

New Delhi: In a bid to enhance connectivity, India and Sri Lanka are considering an open sky policy within the framework of the air traffic agreement of the SAARC nations.

"We had a fruitful discussion regarding increasing the number of services between the two countries and also the possibility of an open sky policy," Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ports and Aviation Mangala Samaraweera told reporters after meeting Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

The talks between the two Ministers centered on enhancing connectivity, exploring possibility of more cooperation, opening up of new points for the designated Sri Lankan carriers and increasing cargo flights to India.

India has a liberal air services agreement with all SAARC countries but Sri Lanka has utilised it to the maximum. Praful Patel said Sri Lanka has sought more connectivity between the two countries.

"Sri Lanka is one of the countries which has utilised its entitlement to the maximum and the Sri Lankan government is keen that India opens up more," he said.

He said that India was in favour of increasing more connectivity between the two countries and could entertain a separate agreement with Sri Lanka outside the SAARC framework.

The two ministers agreed that the detailed negotiations between India and Sri Lanka regarding enhancement of the Air Services Agreement would take place tentatively in June 2006.

The Air Services Agreement between India and Sri Lanka was last reviewed in the bilateral talks held on April 30 to May 1, 2002 in New Delhi.

As of now the designated airlines for India to Sri Lanka are Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara. For Sri Lanka it is the Sri Lankan Airlines.

Sri Lanka daily services the six metro cities of India viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata and has unlimited access to 18 more tourist gateways in India with the minimum of 67 services per week.


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