May 26, 2024
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    Israel and Sri Lanka have inked a direct air service agreement Featured

    February 16, 2024

    Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva announced the signing of a direct air service agreement between Israel and Sri Lanka yesterday (16).

    Speaking at a press briefing themed “Collective Path to a Stable Country” at the President’s Media Centre, Minister de Silva highlighted the agreement’s focus on preventing delays in Sri Lankan workers’ migration abroad.

    “The agreement, signed between the Israeli Ministry of Transport and our Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, marks the beginning of direct flights between Israel and Sri Lanka, aiming to enhance passenger convenience,” Minister de Silva stated.

    He further elaborated on the agreement’s objective of facilitating prompt overseas employment for Sri Lankan workers and noted the interest of many Israelis in visiting Sri Lanka.

    Meanwhile, the minister also said, “Negotiations have commenced with Indigo Airlines to introduce an additional daily flight service to India via Palali Airport. Furthermore, an Expression of Interest (EOI) has been called for the development of Mattala Airport. Following the selection of an investor by the Tender Board, negotiations are nearing conclusion, with the possibility of reaching an agreement next week.

    This endeavour, proposed as a joint Russian and Indian private project, holds the potential to render the airport profitable. In response to traffic congestion at Katunayake Airport, plans are underway to introduce 31 ticket windows and a new terminal building, with construction slated to begin within two weeks”, the minister explained.

    Additionally, JICA’s Chairman has pledged funds for the construction of the second terminal building following discussions with President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

    The deadline for expressing interest in the restructuring of SriLankan Airlines has been extended to March 15th.

    Moreover, Minister de Silva highlighted a significant 32% growth in shipping container volume, leading to the development of the Eastern Terminal with an investment of USD 580 million from the Port Authority, aimed at boosting container exchange and generating substantial income for the country.

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