RAWALPINDI: Delegation of the Governments of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka met here Wednesday to liberalize the existing Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two countries. Pakistan delegation was led by Major General Mir Haider Ali Khan, Additional Secretary-I. Ministry of Defence, whereas the Sri Lankan delegation was headed by Mr. D.T.P. Collure, Secretary Ministry of Ports and Aviation of Sri Lanka.
The talks were held in friendly atmosphere and the two sides agreed to increase the weekly frequencies allowed to the airlines of both the countries threefold from five to fourteen.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was singed in Ministry of Defense today. The MoU provides that the designated airlines of Sri Lanka would operate also to Islamabad and Gwadar in addition to Karachi and Lahore. In reciprocity, the designated airlines of Pakistan can also operate the agreed services from any point in Pakistan to Colombo. The designated airlines of both countries are allowed to operate any number of cargo flights with full traffic rights between the two countries.
The two sides also agreed to include new articles on ‘Aviation Security’ and ‘Aviation Safety’ in the ASA. The article on designation of airlines was also amended to allow multiple airlines operation.
In addition to PIA, Pakistan designated Shaheen Air International and Air Blue to utilize the agreed traffic rights whereas Sri Lankan designated Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. And Expo Aviation (Pvt) Ltd. to operate passenger and cargo services respectively, in addition to Sri Lankan Airlines. The liberal traffic rights now agreed will enhance trade, commerce and people to people contact between the two countries.-SANA