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Civil Aviation Authority issues a release on illegal aircraft departure from SL

On the 6th of January, 2019 News1st reported on an incident where a private aircraft that landed at the Trincomalee air force base, departed the country without the proper authorization. The Civil Aviation authority yesterday (January 8) issued a release explaining the incident.

The bombardier flight that landed at the China bay army base in Trincomalee was carrying foreign investors said to be from Singapore, China, and Hong Kong. According to sources, former Governor of the Eastern Province Rohitha Bogollagama and his son had intervened to bring down this group of investors.

We pointed out that the flight had left the country outside the due procedure from a location that is not an approved port of departure in the country. The Civil aviation authority states that the aircraft that departed from China Bay airport had conformed to all requirements applicable to aircraft departing for international flights.

The release that carried the signature of the Deputy Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority Rohan Manukulasooriya states that necessary approvals from all concerned agencies had been arranged well in advance prior to the departure of this flight.

While appreciating the release by Manukulasooriya clarifying the incident, we have no doubt that your institution acted in a manner adhering to due process. But while standing by our report on the incident we continue to question as to how the law of the country is violated continuously?

Section 34 of the Immigration and Emigration Act clearly states “No person to whom this part applies shall leave Sri Lanka from any place other than an approved port of departure.”

The subject minister is required to declare the approved ports of departure through a gazette notification. According to the law of the country, the China bay airport is not an approved port of departure. If this airport was an approved port of departure it should be included in a gazette issued by the Subject Minister. We question the existence of such a gazette notification. We question as to if this was done because there was something illegal or someone illegal on board this aircraft?

Retired Director of Customs Samantha Gunasekara noted that no flight or ship can arrive or leave the country, without the approval of the customs department. He added that the customs should know what is on the flight, as well as who the people on board the flight are. In addition, if this is not a regular flight there is a question regarding security.

Gunasekara said in addition to this there are civil aviation laws, therefore, if someone is violating this without proper permission there is also a civil aviation issue. According to the retired Director of Customs Samantha Gunasekara the flight in question has violated three regulations.

Therefore these are some questions that need to be answered,

Did everyone who traveled to the China Bay Air Force Base from the Bandaranaike International Airport leave the country?

Did they obtain proper approval and clearance from the Customs and immigration and emigration officials?

Why weren’t aerial security measures implemented on this flight when it left the airspace of the island after taking off from an airport that is not an approved port of departure in the country?

Who is watching by while the country’s sovereignty, national security, and its integrity is being challenged?

Why are those responsible for this not being arrested?

Author: TELO Admin