5th October, 2003 Volume 10, Issue12
• To mark 100 years of civil aviation
Buy me a plane ticket, arrange a ride and take me
sightseeing as I have never been on a plane before.” What would one
say if a child made this request? The most likely scenario would be you’d
enlighten him/her on the realities of life and explain that flying is a
costly affair and going sight-seeing can be even costlier.
not just children even grown-ups get excited at the thought of getting on a
plane and travelling to an exotic location. Unfortunately, only a few people
get to travel by air even just once in their life time. But 54 school
children representing the nine provinces – six representing each province
are getting this chance of a life time – when they will be flown to the
beautiful, sandy shores of Maldive Islands, will go on a sight seeing tour
there and brought back. That is not all. They will be given Rs. 1000 each to
cover travelling expenses to Colombo and will also be given a gift pack
consisting of a T-shirt, pair of shoes and pants.
of the lucky winners who will be on the
is special about this group of students is that none of these children have
ever flown before. And some of them come from far way places like the north
and the deep south.
school children are the winners of a competition titled ‘Pathum Piyapath’
organised by SriLankan Airlines. The tour is aptly named “Dream flight to
the Maldives.” Out of over 5000 participants, the group of 54 students –
23 boys and 31 girls between the ages of 16 to 19 years — have won the
trip of a lifetime. The competition and the tour is part of the celebrations
to mark 100 years of civil aviation in the world.
exactly 100 years ago on December 17th
that the Wright brothers flew their plane in Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.
The principles of flight they discovered opened the era of modern aviation.
And on October 11th SriLankan
Airline’s flight UL101 will fly the 54 lucky, first time air travellers to
the Maldives. Airline officials told The Sunday Leader that the dream
flight for the young teens will begin the day before when they will be
hosted to a tea party on the topmost floor of the tallest building in
Colombo – the World Trade Centre.
make this fun event more memorable the organisers say they have invited
national celebrities from the sporting, film and music fields as special
invitees to meet the students. The students will be then taken to a beach
hotel in Negombo for the night so that the logistics of taking flight to
Male early the following morning will be easier. The students will also be
made familiar with customs and immigration procedure at the airport and they
will be treated as normal passengers, said the airline staff. They will be
issued with special identity cards.
Aranan, a year 12 student from Hindu College Mount Lavinia said he was
really excited about the trip as he has never flown before. “I am so
excited and happy it’s hard to put what I feel into words. I’m thankful
to the organisers and I really look forward to experiencing the Maldivian
culture,” said Aranan. He also said that for students from low income
families who may never get the chance to fly this was certainly a great
trip is really important to those who live in the outstation areas. School
children from around the country are taking part in this and it is a really
good thing,” said Aranan.
Sunday Leader spoke to J. Sumith Lakshitha and K. D. Sampath Niroshan,
both year 13 students at De La Salle College. “The quiz had questions on
airlines and aviation history. I believe the students who sent out entries
were those interested in air travel. I feel very lucky to have been chosen
amongst all of them to go on this trip. I have to thank my teachers and
parents who helped me in entering the competition,” said Sumith.
too shared similar feelings about his soon to be very first trip by
airplane. “I have been fortunate enough to get this chance over so many
others who entered the competition,” he said. When asked of his friends’
feelings about him winning the trip, he said all of them are asking him to
bring various gifts when he comes back.
Chathurange, a year 13 student from Royal College is also amongst the 54
lucky winners. He said he
really looks forward to visiting the Maldives, especially the world famous
in Maldives the group has a busy schedule. Apart from sight seeing in the
Maldives the group will meet the Maldivian first lady and after a tour of
Male the students will be taken to Ranali island resort for lunch. During
their trip the 54 Sri Lankan students will have the chance to experience sea
plane travel as well in Male.
most memorable trip would end with the team arriving back in Colombo on UL
106 in the very early hours of October 12.
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