Ports, Marine and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva reiterated concerns that any disruption to the aviation industry could spell the end of large sectors of the economy. De Silva reiterated the government’s commitment to providing affordable and accessible transportation facilities across the country. De Silva called on the Sri Lankan Air Force to return to the glory days and reduce the economic burden currently borne by the people.
De Silva was addressing the 41st meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on September 29 in Montreal, Canada.
De Silva pointed out that the pace of growth in aviation before the pandemic was staggering. He said: “The world has seen a very promising average growth rate of over 4.5% over the last 10 years (before COVID-19. These numbers represent the peak of global aviation.”
He noted, however, that due to the pandemic, considerable constraints had been imposed on economic activity. He said, “Every state in the world has been affected.” He then called on stakeholders to realize the importance of the aviation industry to related industries such as tourism and agriculture. He said: “Aviation needs to get back to pre-COVID.”
De Silva also noted the need to establish viable operations in the aviation industry. He noted this in the context of the current economic suffering of the Sri Lankan people. He said, “The government is sensitive to the economic situation and the suffering of the people and is ready to undertake the necessary reforms.”
De Silva pointed out that Sri Lanka has a strong road and rail infrastructure. He noted that the government had chosen as a measure in its planning to create an airport within 100 kilometers of the vast majority of the population instead of considering the profit motive.
De Silva reiterated the strength of the government’s COVID-19 management. He said the country had managed to reopen its international and domestic airport infrastructure. (DP)