ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and the United States had signed an expanded open skies deal with US carriers being given seventh freedom rights for cargo, which could allow US cargo or express carriers to operated form the island.
“The amendment strengthens global express delivery cargo networks, enhances bilateral connectivity and competitiveness, and facilitates economic growth and job creation,” the US embassy said.
Sri Lanka had signed the expanded open skies deal between Secretary of Civil Aviation G S Withanage and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap.
“This amendment to our bilateral Open Skies Agreement further strengthens the robust and longstanding trade relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka,” Ambassador Keshap said in a statement.
“As Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, the United States seeks economic growth that provides employment and opportunity for the citizens of both our nations.”
Sri Lanka has said earlier all freedoms of the air will be offered from Mattala Airport in the South for potential foreign carriers.
Seventh freedoms allow a carrier to operate from one foreign country to another even if the journey does not start and end in the home country.
Global aviation markets were restricted and regulated especially after World War II, to cater to Mercantilist domestic interests and state monopolies, against the interests of the travelling public.
However in the EU in particular de-regulation has led to a boom in cheap air travel. Though Sri Lanka could be a global logistics hub, regulations in both aviation and shipping had prevented the country from using its locatonal advantages unlike islands like Hong Kong. (Colombo/Dec06/2017)