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Sunday, 16 March 2014

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March 18 - Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Day :

Making Lanka a miraculous global hub in aviation

Unique in human history, Sri Lanka is a place blessed by the living Buddha and in many a sacred place Buddha relics are enshrined, occupying great serenity. It is a home to historically and architecturally significant sites. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mihintale etc are pieces of history brought to life.


Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.

The people lived for centuries working for royalty who in turn paid their dedicated attention to their welfare, giving life to the ancient concept of tank, temple, dagoba and the village. Many were simple farmers in the land of their forefathers, civilised in culture, devoted to religion.

Their mode of transport to religious places in particular was the bullock cart spending days to reach the destination.

According to ancient Indian epics, Ramayanaya and Mahabharatha that there was some sort of flying involving the royalty between India and Sri Lanka, which gives added strength to the fact that Sri Lanka was in close proximity to India. There is mention of the Dandumonara, a flying contraption used by them.

Invention

Before coming to modern aviation, Sri Lanka is believed to have been engaged in some kind of flying a long time ago. It is after the Wright brothers’ invention during the industrial revolution that the true and real aviation came into being. The imperial masters made a tremendous contribution in this field. The country was benefited in various ways. The background for the government's aim to make Sri Lanka the aviation hub originated during this era.

Emerging from three decades of violent conflict, devastation and destruction, the government is marching forward after the massive humanitarian operation. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was very keen in the emergence of the five fold hubs of development - Naval, Knowledge, Aviation, Power and Energy to render the greatest service to the people of Sri Lanka, to make Sri Lanka the aviation hub. He declared March 18th Sri Lanka's civil aviation day with the inauguration of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.

The beginning of aviation in Sri Lanka took place around 1912 when the first aircrafts are said to have landed at the Colombo Racecourse and the present Ratmalana airport.

With gradual progress the dawn of the Second World War and the importance attached to Sri Lanka's geographical and strategic position necessitated a base for a multitude of activities which brought about the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport in no time and it was improved in stages by the subsequent governments in the country after the independence.

During the Second World War, Sri Lanka hardly had any progress in aviation to be called theirs during which time the Katunayake BIA, Colombo and Trincomalee, were bombed from the air. War planes were flying, the people watched with fear so many planes flying abreast overhead.

Then, still later, during the most turbulent times, that the country experienced, there was severe damage to our aviation and air power. Katunayake's BIA was the most affected with bomb attacks of a crucial nature.

This was the era that there were global rumours that Sri Lanka was not safe and secure for air travel. Ever since the people made the ultimate sacrifice and with the subsequent development process a new era dawned which paved the way for all round progress.

The swift uplift and changes soon took place for the better. The Mattala airport was a clear outcome of this era which revealed its flying roots to the world.

When considering the aviation, there is an amazing increase in tourism. On March 18th Sri Lanka opened its doors to the entire globe. Today, there are two international airports and 14 domestic airports opened for the use of both the military and the public. There are 51 different types of aircrafts in the possession of the Air Force. Today, they own Attack and Offensive support Aircrafts, Reconnaissance and Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Transport Aircraft, Attack helicopters, Support and Transport Helicopters and training Aircrafts.

All these inclusive of a truly elite Air Force paved the way for Sri Lanka to become on par with other countries having superior aviation capabilities. All these no doubt play a key role in the quest for global fame to move forward for economic prosperity.

Sri Lanka also embarked on a new journey in aviation with the opening of the second international outlet in the south. All these make Sri Lanka a miraculous global hub in aviation.

 

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