Sept 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka and the European Commission, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union Thursday (September 27) signed a horizontal air services agreement that will bring air services agreements between 14 EU member states and Sri Lanka in line with EU legislation.
The agreement will remove nationality restrictions in bilateral air services agreements which limit traffic rights towards Sri Lanka of the airlines of EU member states that have signed an agreement with Sri Lanka.
Under the agreement any EU airline will be allowed to operate flights between Sri Lanka and any EU member state, where a bilateral agreement between that member state and Sri Lanka already exists and traffic rights are available. The agreement is expected to increase air traffic for both parties.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the European Union P.M. Amza signed the Agreement at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium yesterday on behalf of Sri Lanka.
Ambassador George Zodiates, Deputy Permanente Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU and Matthew Baldwin, Director Aviation and Transport Affairs signed the Agreement on behalf of the EU Presidency and the European Commission (EC) respectively.
Signing the agreement, Ambassador Zodiates has said that it will enable reciprocal growth in aviation sector and it would further enhance opportunities for tourism, technical and bilateral cooperation between the two parties.
Baldwin noting that intensive negotiations led to the concluding of the Agreement has expressed hope that it would open a path for development of EU-Sri Lanka relations.
Ambassador Amza has noted that aviation sector between EU and Sri Lanka witnessed a significant growth over the past years and the Agreement would make an important contribution to the expansion of the civil aviation sector.
The Agreement will allow the national carrier of Sri Lanka to expand its services to new destinations in the EU Member States.
Approximately 520,000 air passengers travelled between the EU states and Sri Lanka last year. So far this year nearly 250,000 tourists from Western Europe had arrived in Sri Lanka.