Sri Lanka is set to resume flights from the Northern Jaffna peninsula to Chennai, three years after the island nation discontinued the services due to Covid, a spokesman from the Sri Lankan Airport Authority said. “The commercial flight operations from Chennai International airport to Jaffna International airport will be back effective 12th December 2022,” SLAA spokesperson Sumith de Silva said.
“This will be a resumption of flights since they were stopped for Covid,” de Silva said. India’s Alliance Air would operate four flights a week between the two cities, said de Silva.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament that flights will be operational between Jaffna and Chennai by December 12. However, there are still some improvements left to be done to the runway.
The present runway can only accommodate 75-seater aircraft. The airport in Palaly was named the Jaffna international airport as Sri Lanka’s third international airport in October 2019 and had its first flight from Chennai.
The 2019 redevelopment of the airport was funded by both Sri Lanka and India. The tourism sector is the main source of foreign exchange earnings for cash-strapped Sri Lanka.
However, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 severely crippled the tourism sector and was one of the major reasons for Sri Lanka’s economic travails.
The resumption of flights is expected to help the cash-strapped country’s tourism sector and provide a fillip to its beleaguered economy.