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| THE REALITY: Airlines suspend Sri Lanka flights after rebel air strike |
Monday, 30 April 2007 - 10:47 AM SL Time
29 April 2007 22:12:38
Airlines suspend Sri Lanka flights after rebel air strike
COLOMBO, April 29, 2007 (AFP) - Emirates Airlines and Hong Kong`s flag carrier Cathay Pacific on Sunday suspended flights to Sri Lanka following a rebel air strike around the troubled island`s capital.
`For Emirates, the safety of its passengers is of paramount importance,` a spokesman for the Dubai-based carrier said, adding that the situation would be reviewed within a day.
Emirates operated scheduled flights from Dubai to the Maldives, Singapore and Indonesia through the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
However, the airline plans to operate a relief flight for any stranded passengers.
Hong Kong`s flag carrier Cathay Pacific suspended flights to Sri Lanka`s international airport indefinitely, it said in a statement Sunday.
Planes manned by Tamil Tiger rebels struck fuel depots around Sri Lanka`s capital early Sunday, briefly plunging Colombo into darkness. Security forces lit up the night sky with anti-aircraft fire.
The island`s only international airport, located near the capital, diverted flights after rebel aircraft were spotted in its air space.
Flights were disrupted by air defence systems, officials said, adding that one Indian jet was turned back and several departing flights were delayed.
It is the second time in recent weeks that Cathay Pacific has suspended flights to Sri Lanka.
It pulled services for a week late last month after Tamil Tiger rebels launched an air raid on a military base next to the airport.
Emirates currently owns a 43.6 percent stake and manages Sri Lanka`s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines.