IATA urges Sri Lanka to map aviation development

IATA has advised Sri Lanka to develop an aviation blueprint so as to generate greater economic growth and prosperity through having a stronger aviation industry.

IATA’s regional vice president for Asia-Pacific, Philip Goh, pointed out that “aviation connectivity can play a much bigger role in Sri Lanka’s economic development and social advancement” but requires government support in “developing Colombo as an aviation hub”.

Trade and tourism rely on aviation, which helps create jobs, alleviate poverty and generate prosperity; Colombo in Sri Lanka, pictured

He said that IATA is ready to provide support, and that the government and industry stakeholders need to “collaborate on developing an aviation blueprint to strengthen the aviation industry’s competitiveness and bring greater prosperity to Sri Lanka”.

IATA’s study in 2018 showed that Sri Lanka’s aviation sector supported some 700,000 jobs and contributed US$8 billion to the GDP, with the potential to increase to over one million jobs contributing nearly US$30 billion to the GDP by 2038.

During his keynote speech at Aviation Day Sri Lanka, organised by IATA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), Goh suggested three areas to consider in the aviation blueprint: facilitating sustainable growth, safety, and sustainability.

Under facilitating sustainable growth, Goh said: “Sri Lanka’s aviation blueprint needs to facilitate the sustainable growth of the industry and having an updated airport masterplan is the first step. I urge the government to engage in a consultative approach involving airlines to ensure that industry input is factored in.”

He urged Sri Lanka to digitise processes for passenger and cargo facilitation, and that doing so will address capacity constraints, increase efficiency and improve the travel experience.

While recognising much has been done in recent months to lower the cost of jet fuel, Goh suggested that the government should review and consider placing limits or capping the amount on marked up fuel supply at the airport.

Goh also stressed the importance of staying safe while growing sustainably. IATA will support the aviation industry in Sri Lanka by conducting safety related training in August for CAASL and Sri Lankan Airlines, by utilising the International Airlines Training Fund. He also encouraged the government to explore how the IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations can be used to contribute to greater aviation safety in Sri Lanka.

Finally, Goh called on the government to adopt a comprehensive consultation process involving airlines and other aviation stakeholders as the government develops sustainability policies, such as ensuring the availability of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the country.

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