FITS Aviation Ground Handling Officer, Siriwansa, told Ceylon Today that the Civil Air Services Authority had informed them (FITS) to suspend all air travel to Jaffna from 10-18 November in view of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
He added that FITS has been informed of this through a fax (cord system).
FITS tours normally operate one trip daily, from Monday to Saturday, from Ratmalana to Palaly and back.
However, an officer of Heli Tours stated that the government has not banned air travel to Jaffna.
Heli Tours operates under the Sri Lanka Air Force. The officer stated that air travel to Jaffna is supervised by him.
When contacted, Civil Air Services Senior Director, Parakrama Dissanayake, said that no such restriction has been ordered as far as he knows.
“I have not heard of a cord system. I think the public of this country will get a bad impression, especially when a summit like CHOGM is being held in Sri Lanka.”
Another officer who declined to reveal his name, commented that the government would have taken this decision in an attempt to control foreigners getting access to Jaffna.
Nevertheless, many foreigners who arrived in Sri Lanka to attend CHOGM have already visited Jaffna.
A number of foreign journalists had even covered a protest by Jaffna citizens demanding the State to give back their lands.
By Niranjala Ariyawansha