The Government yesterday said it was prepared to resume night operations at the Bandaranaike International Airport shortly as the Air Force was now fully confident of meeting any air threat from the LTTE.
`The BIA is now equipped with detection and interception capability to counter any air threat and will resume its operations in the first week of next month,` Government Defence Spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the media.
`The Air Force is capable of handling any situation in future,` Minister Rambukwella said in response to questions whether the Air Force was ready to meet possible LTTE raids in the future.
However, the minister said that aviation officials had to obtain certification from several institutes, authorized to carry out assessment of security and other airport activities, before the resumption of the 24-hour operation.
`It will take about ten days to work out these modalities and after this we hope to reopen the airport as planned,` the minister said.
He said that several rounds of official discussions were held in this regard.
The airport shut down its operations from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. a day following the Tamil Tigers` air attack on the airport on June 10. Three Air Force personnel were killed and more than 15 others injured in the raid.
On Tuesday evening, Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa held talks with top Government officials about the opening of the BIA. Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Tourism Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapa, the President`s Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Ports and Aviation Ministry Secretary Tilak Collure, Sri Lanka Tourist Board Chairman Renton de Alwis and Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilake attended the talks held at the Aviation Ministry.