Jaffna-India flights to restart in July: Sri Lanka Aviation Ministertext_fields
Colombo: Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Sri Lankan Aviation Minister said that in a move that would help support the tourism industry of the country and alleviate the economic crisis, flights from the northern Jaffna peninsula to India will resume next month.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority plans to attract 800,000 tourists during the rest of the year.
While not specifying the date, the Aviation Minister said on Saturday, "The northern Jaffna peninsula's Palaly airport is to resume flights to India from next month".
"Resuming the flights would improve tourism and help the country in the current dollar crisis," de Silva said after inspecting the airport.
"The present runway can only accommodate 75-seater flights and therefore needs to be extended," he said. He said he hoped India would help in making improvements to the runway. In October 2019, the airport was renamed Jaffna International Airport. The first international flight to land there was from Chennai, PTI reported.
Both Sri Lanka and India have provided financial assistance for the 2019 airport redevelopment. Earlier, Alliance Air of India operated three flights a week from Chennai to Palaly. However, after the change of government in Sri Lanka in November 2019, the airline ceased operations.
Sri Lanka is in the midst of the worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948. Sri Lankans have been forced into a severe financial crisis due to severe shortages of basic necessities such as food, medicine, cooking gas, other fuels, toilet paper and matchboxes. Citizens have to wait in line for hours outside the shops to buy fuel and cooking gas.