SriLankan Airlines has been given ample prior notice regarding President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s travel plans from London on December 13, a senior member of the Presidential delegation disclosed yesterday.
He dismissed allegations that the request for seats out of London was made on the day of the flight itself, recalling that President Rajapaksa`s travel arrangements were notified to Sri Lankan as early as November 30.
SriLankan Airlines had earlier said that they could not accommodate the Presidential delegation as the flights out of London were fully booked.
The spokesman said the initial communication was made to SriLankan`s Senior Manager Government Travel Amith Wijayasuriya requesting that the President`s delegation be allocated space on a suitable flight departing London on December 15. This was followed up by an e mail.
On the same day i.e. Nov 30 Wijayasuriya replied stating that there are two flights UL 506 and UL 502. On the same day, UL 506 was selected.
Another mail was sent to Wijayasuriya to inform of flights available on the 13/12 and 14/12 both direct from London or via Male.
Again, two flights were provided and SriLankan was informed that the delegation would take UL 506. On December 5, SriLankan was requested whether the delegation can take UL 502 on 13/12/07 and confirmation was requested for same.
Later a mail was received from Wijayasuriya stating that both flights are fully booked and that they are unable to provide any seats, suggesting that they have made available some seats on an Emirates flight departing from London Gatwick to Dubai.