Lion Air wants flights resumed
[TamilNet, Friday, 30 October 1998, 22:15 GMT]
Lion Air, the private airline that operated between Colombo and Jaffna, wrote to the Director General of Sri Lanka's civil aviation department today that it is keen to resume flights to the north from November 9. The Lion Air was grounded after one of its flights fell into the sea off the north-western coast under mysterious circumstances on September 29.
The managing director of Lion Air, Mr. Palitha Wijesuriya said in his letter to Lal Liyanaratchi the director general of civil aviation that more than five hundred civilians who had booked seats to Jaffna have not been reimbursed by the airline and that they and others are making inquiries about the resumption of flights.
Mr. Palitha Wijesuriya also requested a copy of the internal report of the investigation on the flight that fell into the sea to be submitted to the civil aviation authorities in the Commonwealth of Independent Countries (CIS)-Russia.
The Lion Air said in its letter among other things:
"It is exactly a month since flight LN 602 met with the unfortunate incident in September 98. During the month of October along with the aviation inspectors from CIS and Belaurus who came to Sri Lanka on October 5, we as the operators , the representatives from the owning company and our principals from Ukraine worked tirelessly, to find
a) possible causes for the incident.
b) evaluate the conditions for future operation of civilians flights in Sri Lankan using aircraft owned and registered in CIS countries. All of us collaborated fully with the official investigator appointed by the government and had regular discussions, meetings and evaluation with him and other officials of your directorate. The final conclusion of the foreign experts from CIS on the incident was notified to the official investigators before the team left on October 19.
Lion Air is a responsible airline with ICAO recognition and operating in Sri Lanka since 1994 having had many detailed discussions with all the representatives from overseas and our crew, we concluded that we are able to carry out the commercial flights for civilian passengers and cargo to and from Jaffna safely.
We of course decided to take certain precautions and security measures ourselves on the advice of our principal and owners of the aircraft.
All foreign parties involved in providing aircraft to Lion Air have cleared us to commence operations in Sri Lanka including flights to Jaffna.
We are now ready to resume Lion Air flights to Jaffna effective November 9 to continue to contribute our share towards the normalising of war torn Jaffna as we have been doing since October 1996 and await your approval for same.
We also require a copy of the internal report of the official investigating office to be submitted to the civil aviation authorities of the CIS and between our principal in Ukraine and Gomelavia, the owners of the aircraft leased by us."
A copy of this letter was sent today to the Sri Lankan President, Commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF), secretary of the MoD etc.
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