Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Soon, flights to link Jaffna to Indian cities

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority is gearing up to operate commercial flights from the island’s northern city of Jaffna to select Indian cities. Preparations are on to commence flights from mid-October, according to officials.
Flights would run from Palaly airport in Jaffna Peninsula, to Kochi, Mumbai and New Delhi. “We are working according to the directive from the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry,” a senior official from the Civil Aviation Authority told The Hindu.
A “technical team” from India is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka next week to study the facilities in the airport, according to Colombo-based official sources.
The development of the Palaly airport, some 20 km north of Jaffna town, has been on the cards for some years now. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has, on multiple occasions, spoken of proposals to upgrade the facility into an international airport, by expanding its current run way to accommodate large passenger aircrafts. An upgraded airport is expected to boost investment prospects in the war-battered Northern Province, in addition to facilitating greater trade activity.
Though possible grant assistance from India, for the “joint development” of the airport, was discussed in the past, no official agreement or document has so far been signed in this regard.
In September 2018, then Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva told Parliament that India had no role in the project, contradicting earlier messages that came out both from Colombo and New Delhi.
10/09/19 Meera Srinivasan/The Hindu

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