Sri Lankan Airlines plans route to Philippines

The government of Sri Lanka may soon finalize an agreement with Philippine civil aviation authorities to begin commercial flights from Sri Lanka to the Philippines via Sri Lankan airlines, Philippine media reports.

This was relayed by Sri Lankan Ambassador Nawalage Bennet Cooray, who called on the PhilippineVice President Jejomar C. Binay at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City.

The ambassador said the Sri Lankan government is hopeful that, once in place, the flights will pave the way for stronger economic ties between the two countries.

There are currently no direct flights between the two countries.

Under the new deal, the flights between Manila and the Sri Lankan capital Colombo will reportedly be increased to four from two a week.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Jayaratne also visited Binay early this year during Wesak.

Binay said the two countries could share experiences especially on insurgency problem.

He noted that the Philippines could learn from Sri Lanka on how its government handled “what seemed to be an impossible dream in the past,” referring to the downfall of the rebel group Tamil Tigers in 2009 after decades of battle against the Sri Lankan government.

Diplomatic relations were established between Sri Lanka and the Philippines in 1951 with the former opening a legation in Colombo.

The South Asian island nation, formerly known as Ceylon, is host to 400-500 skilled and semi-skilled Filipino workers.

According to the Commission on Overseas Filipinos, there were 1,201 Filipinos in Sri Lanka as of 2009, the Manila Bulletin reports.

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