Respective governments of the South Asian countries had witnessed the progress made, endorsed to the efforts and pledged support to make sure that civil aviation activities in the region would be conducted by maintaining the highest possible safety and security standards with due attention to preserving the environment in which the industry existed, said Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ports and Aviation recently.
The minister was addressing the 15th Steering Committee Meeting of the Co-operative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Programme - South Asia (COSCAP - SA) which was ceremonially opened on February 7, at Congress Hall, Earl`s Regency Hotel Kandy, sponsored by Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.
The Minister was the chief guest at the event.
`Sri Lanka has set a new vision for the future with a new President been elected, by the people of Sri Lanka. The President has a clear mission to achieve that vision through a realistic and a pragmatic work programme,`, he said.
The transportation sector had a key role to play in the intergreated development plans of the new government. Ports and Aviation sector had several mega projects ahead. In the Ports sector the development of Colombo South harbour, which would be one of the largest developments projects Sri Lanka, would have undertaken in the recent times, and a major port in the South of Sri Lanka in Hambantota was being actively pursued. The construction of those projects would commence during the course of this year, Mr. Samaraweera added.
`At present the development of the aviation in the country also has been looked into, from various corners, and amongst many items on the agenda the development of the second international airport for the country has been undertaken and the feasibility study of the project has already got off ground,` the Minister further added.
The second international airport would also fulfil a long felt need of the country to have an in country alternate to the Bandaranayke International Airport (BIA) in Colombo. The project was being planned to integrate the development of the Southern port of the country along with the port of Hambantota, he said.
BIA would be developed with modem facilities for passengers, facilitating more than 5 million passengers annually. Eight new passenger bridges had also been constructed at the BIA.
Under the new Ports & Aviation development programme in the Southern Sri Lanka, industrial villages, aircraft component manufacturing, maintaining facilities and regional transhipment centre facilities would also be launched, aiming the socio economic development of the South, the minister said.
COSCAP - SA was formed to enhance safety and efficiency of air transport operations in its member states, in a cost-effective manner for the purpose of creating regional capability and a regional forum for addressing in a co-ordinated manner, flight safety oversight aspects. It also works for the harmonization of related laws, regulations, policies and procedures. COSCAP programme is executed by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) by means of a Trust Fund.
The COSCAP - SA programme is guided by a steering Committee, comprising the DGCAs of the Member States, the Director of the technical Cooperation Bureau of ICAO or his representative, ICAO Regional Director or his representative and the Pro WIMs Chief Technical Advisor / Coordinator.
Representative of donor organizations contributing in cash or in kind to the Programme are invited to participate at all Steering Committee meetings that are normally held at intervals of 6-8 months.
During the full period of operation this programme had trained 4538 aviators of the Region. The programme ran 185 aviation related training courses from its inception. 490 aviators from Sri Lanka were trained COSCAP - SA held 29 training courses in Sri Lanka which involved 61 days of training. Technical Assistance to Sri Lanka was also offered which totalled to 96 working days. During the year 2005, 563 aviators of the region were given training.
South Asian SAARC Regional countries namely Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangaladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives, participated at the three-day 15th Steering Committee Meeting held in Kandy.
Mahmood Razee, Chairman COSCAP ? SA; Moldivian Ambassador, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Aviation Authority, Air Wise Marshed P. Mendis; Secretary to the Ministry of Ports & Aviation. Tilak Kollure; Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H. M. S. Palihakkara; Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lankan Airlines, Peter Hill; Executive Director of Civil Aviation Authority, Ananda Gunatilaka were also among the guests who participated at the programme.