Spark Air to take wing early next year | Sunday Observer
Boost for aviation industry

Spark Air to take wing early next year

Sri Lanka’s airline and aviation industry will receive a boost with the launch of operations of Spark Air to foreign destinations in February next year, a senior official of Spark Air (Pvt) Ltd told Sunday Observer Business on Friday.

He said the airline has applied for the Air Operator Certificate and Airline Licence to run international regular transport operations and charter operations carrying passengers, cargo and mail.

“Initially we will stick to air cargo transportation and then move on to passenger transportation due to the current global situation to destinations USA, Europe Africa, Middle East and Far East with two A330 airbuses,” Head of Safety Management Systems, Capt. Uditha Danwatte said.

The airline plans to go for a dry lease agreement with airbus owners shortly.

“We have local and foreign investments for the operation which will boost the aviation and tourism industries,” Capt. Danwatte said.

The venture will provide employment opportunities for local pilots and ground handling staff and help generate foreign exchange to the country.

The limited number of airlines in the country has left many in the local aviation industry unemployed.

Around 400 pilots are without employment. The national carrier currently has a fleet of around 24 aircraft which includes 12A330 long haul and 12 A320/A321 medium haul airbuses.

“We will build hangers and launch a maintenance , repairs and overhaul (MRO) project at the Mattala International Airport,” Capt. Danwatte said.

He said the new Government has extended its fullest support on the venture and that Civil Aviation Director General Capt.

Themiya Abeywickrama has been a source of encouragement from the outset.Capt.

Danwatte, a renowned pilot who rendered a yeoman service to the Sri Lanka Air Force for over two decades in the height of the battle against terrorism and thereafter, to many leading international airlines brought pride to Sri Lanka when he flew an AirAsia bus from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo with his son, a pilot himself, a year ago notching a feat in the global aviation industry.

“The aviation industry here has a long way to go for which we need to take the first step,” Capt. Danwatte said.

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