14 March 2011

Sri Lanka Domestic Airline Business Picks up with Increasing Demand & Infrastructure Development. Senok Aviation to Fly Two AS350 Eurocopters

14th March 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Charumini de Silva

There is an increasing interest among corporates to commence domestic airlines as the demand and infrastructure developments are taking place on a rapid pace. Senok Aviation (Pvt) Limited has received the approval from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to import two brand new Eurocopter AS350-B3.

The construction of the hangar will be completed in the near future. Thus, the company expects to commence the helicopter operations by June or July.

Speaking to Daily News Business Senok Aviation (Pvt) Limited CEO Keerthi Dissanayake said the company is now expecting the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to commence operations by June once the hangar facility inspections are up to the standards of CAA.

Previously the company’s idea was to commence a passenger aircraft facility within the country, but since the domestic airports were on the development stages; the company selected helicopters as the starter. Another reason Senok chose helicopter facility was that it has the ability to land on any surface easily compared to passenger aircraft, he said.

“It is important that the country build and upgrade the existing airports as, there are many which expect to enter domestic airline operating industry.

At this stage Senok Aviation also thought of entering the industry with the helicopters as there is an impressive demand from the corporates and investors.

With the sound economic environment and tourism industry thriving in the country the demand for domestic airlines especially from investors and tourists will increase significantly.

This corporate segment is very time conscious when it comes to travelling and capturing these high end markets is essential for Senok Aviation as a debuting industrialist,” Dissanayake said.

The company is keen on commencing passenger aircraft facility once the airports are upgraded, he said.

The CAA has received another six applications for aeroplanes and five applications for helicopter operations within the country in mid January.

Apart from Senok Aviation there is another helicopter applicant and an aeroplane applicant that indicates progress in commencing domestic airlines, a CAA senior official said.

At the moment Deccan Aviation, Cosmos and the Sri Lanka Air Force run domestic air services in the country.

SriLankan, the island’s state-run national carrier operates a float plane service.

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