The Sri Lanka Air Force took delivery of two MA 60 passenger aircraft received from China yesterday.The aircraft became part of the Air Force inventory in a simple brief ceremony held at the SLAF Base in Ratmalana. The ceremony was presided by Mr. Wang Jian Feng, first Secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama.
The MA 60 is a twin engine turboprop aircraft which has a seating capacity of 56 passengers. Both aircraft which have been inducted to the SLAF are civil registered aircraft and will contribute towards the aviation growth in Sri Lanka.
These aircraft will be operated by ‘Helitours’, the SLAF’s commercial arm, and will offer a superior service with enhanced comfort on domestic flights.
In addition, the SLAF’s Helitours is also exploring the possibility of expanding the area of operation of these aircraft to regional destinations as well. Being no stranger to flying overseas, the SLAF is confident that these aircraft will be put to good use in meeting the ever growing need for air travel in the region.
The Sri Lanka Air Force through its commercial arm Helitours is also set to expand its commercial operations to Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and Iranamadu in the near future.
The Air Force has collected more than Rs.200 million to the government coffers from commercial flights. Currently Helitours operate to KKS, Ampara, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Palaly and many more destinations across the country by using Bell 212, 412 helicopters and Y12 small passenger aircraft. (Supun Dias)