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Sri Lanka's national carrier to stop domestic flights

Sri Lanka's national carrier on Friday announced the grounding of its domestic flight service because of security concerns and a fall in the number foreign tourists.

world Updated: Jun 01, 2007 19:06 IST

Sri Lanka's national carrier on Friday announced the grounding of its domestic flight service because of security concerns and a fall in the number foreign tourists.

SriLankan Airlines will make its last domestic flight next Tuesday to the eastern town of Ampara. The carrier has been operating its 'Air Taxi' service for just over three years using two Canadian Single Otter aircraft, each with eight seats.

The defence ministry last month banned the airline from using hydro reservoirs for landing the amphibious aircrafts.

"This development together with the declining number of visitors to Sri Lanka, has meant that the Air Taxi is not sustainable in the foreseeable future," chief executive Peter Hill said in a statement.

The ban was part of measures to deal with the new threat of attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels who are using light aircrafts to bomb civilian and military targets.

Sri Lanka's only international airport, the Bandaranaike International, is now shut for six hours at night amid fears of nocturnal bombing raids by the rebels.

The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka has sharply dropped by 20 per cent this year.
Sri Lanka's national carrier announces the grounding of its domestic flight service because of security concerns and a fall in the number foreign tourists.