A proposal to use the Sri Lankan air force to operate domestic passenger services has angered local carriers Lionair and Monara Air.

Sri Lanka's only two domestic airlines have been grounded since September, after a Lionair-operated Antonov An-24 crashed, apparently shot down by Tamil Liberation Tiger separatist rebels. All 55 people on board the aircraft died in the incident.

In the weeks before the crash, the guerrillas had issued written warnings to both carriers that their aircraft were considered targets.

Lionair says the Government plans that the air force will operate the service with Antonov An-32s, with tickets priced slightly below the airlines' charges.

Source: Flight International