The letter states that the American aircraft had landed in Sri Lanka to obtain essential goods and services during their scheduled flight path.
However, there are several discrepancies in the letter given to us by the Defence Ministry. One is the mention that the aircraft had made a stop while on its scheduled flight path. Upon investigating its flight data it was learnt that the said flight had departed from Frankfurt on July 11th and arrived in Bahrain.
Thereafter, the aircraft had arrived in Sri Lanka after a five our flight.
The American aircraft had departed Sri Lanka and headed to the Fujairah airport in the United Arab Emirates. However, there is only an hour’s distance from Bahrain to Fujairah, in comparison to the five hours between Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
Therefore, the explanation given by the Defence Ministry that that the American aircraft had stopped over in Sri Lanka during its routine flight, is highly unacceptable.
Meanwhile, while the Defence Ministry claims the aircraft had arrived in Sri Lanka for supplies and services, the Civil Aviation Authority, responding to our query said that the aircraft had landed in Sri Lanka for a stock of export garments.
Hence, when we questioned the Defence Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, he too accepted that there was a disparity in the responses of the two institutions.
Despite the Defence Ministry notifying us in their response that the American aircraft had arrived in the country having notified the Sri Lankan authorities, the BIA staff claimed they were only aware that such an aircraft had landed, but was unaware of any of the goods it was carrying.
Sri Lankan Airlines, which handles the civil ground operations at the BIA however, claimed not to know anything about this aircraft.
Upon inquiry, the Customs said that only goods being brought out of the airport is subjected to checking, adding that the goods onboard the aircraft was not checked.
The McDonald Douglas 11 goods transport aircraft belonging to American Western Global Airline and it had arrived at the BIA around 3.47 am on July 13th.
The American built goods transport aircraft has the capability of flying to distant destinations.
Upon checking the flight data of this W.G.N 1710 aircraft it was clear that the aircraft had flown to several of their bases in several countries over the recent past.
On July 05th it had flown to their base in Qatar and on July 02nd to Katania in Italy.
In addition, during the recent past this aircraft had mostly flown to cities with American bases or where their troops are based.
Upon checking the Western Global Air web site, it was found that the American Defence Department is one of their main clients.
Therefore, it raises suspicion whether this aircraft had transported goods for American forces according to the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).