- Airport and Aviation Services Chief says positioning country as a safe destination is key
- Active participation of health sector considered critical
- Pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post- arrival spaces identified to be streamlined
- Possibility of capturing detailed traveller information before arrival explored
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As Sri Lanka is eagerly looking forward to open its borders to get the national economy back on track, much of the efforts should be in positioning the country as a safe destination for which the airports must take effective measures to build confidence among global travellers and airlines that it delivers what is promised, the country’s Airport and Aviation Services chief said.
“We need to act fast as the country is already bouncing back in a very big way. From the airport and aviation side, we need to ensure we come back in a positive way. For that, we need to embark on confidence building measures to give assurance to the travellers and airlines that we are safe,” Airport and Aviation Services Chairman Major General (Retd.)
G. A. Chandrasiri said.
He presented his views while deliberating on the impacts of COVID-19 on the airline and aviation industry and the way forward.
According to Chandrasiri, to achieve the safe destination positioning, active participation of the health sector is critical and plans need to be charted while keeping the relevant health authorities in the loop to ensure no stones are left unturned.
In consultation with the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration Authorities, Health Authorities, and the Presidential Secretariat, plans are already being conceptualized by taking into account the measure that need to be taken in the short, medium and the long term.
He shared that the areas that are identified to be streamlined are the pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post- arrival spaces.
Chandrasiri said that efforts are already been taken to look at the possibility of capturing detailed information of a traveller before arrival to the country so that individuals who are ‘high risk’ can be recognized at the earliest to allow enough time to make arrangements to trim down the risk of a possible spread. One of the measures proposed is to carry out rapid testing.
“By doing so and having tight precautionary measures in place we will be able to build confidence that Sri Lanka is safe and those coming in are not carrying the virus. This will be our priority for the next few months,”
The Airport and Aviation chief expressed confidence in the airports being ready to receive and send passengers in a couple of months while successfully projecting Sri Lanka as a safe destination to travel.