May 25, 2017

Maldivian Airlines waiting to begin air services at Ratmalana

Maldivian Airlines has been kept on waiting to begin passenger air services between Male and Ratmalana airport.

The aviation authorities are yet to give the green light for the company to resume commercial aviation operations after 50 years, officials said.

Sri Lankan government has approved a proposal submitted by Maldivian Airlines on February 20 2017 to operate initially here weekly flights (Tuesdays/Thursdays and Saturdays) , Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva disclosed.

But Maldivian Airlines has not been given permission to begin air services.

Dash 8 aircraft (50 seater) which is a turboprop commuter airliner entered service in 1989 would be used for this air service, a note submitted by H.M.C. Nimalsiri, Director General of Civil Aviation indicated.

The bilateral air services agreement between Sri Lanka and Maldives is very liberal and do not have any capacity limitations, Mr. Nimalsiri pointed out in his note observations to the Cabinet.

A special discussion Maldivian air lines flights was held recently at the Ratmalana Airport premises with the participation of the Maldivian Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Moosa Sameer and Sri Lankan Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva.
A MoU for this purpose between the two countries is yet to be signed.

However Sri Lankan Airlines after conducting some studies has informed the Civil Aviation Authority that they were not interested in launching flights as operations out of Ratmalana is not commercially viable, Mr. Nimalsiri said in his note.

Currently SriLankan Airlines operates 48 flights to Male from Katunayake international airport.

Ratmalana airport was built in 1935,and it was used only for activities of the Sri Lanka Air Force during the war and since the end of the war in 2009 the airport is gradually being used for civil aviation purposes.