Monday, November 04, 2019

Will Air India’s unit Alliance Air resume flights to Jaffna after 41 years?

Jafna: The flight services from Chennai to Jaffna, which was set to resume after 41 years, from  November 1 has been delayed due to formal approvals, according to Alliance Air chief executive officer C S Subbiah.

"We are looking at November 11, subject to formal approvals," said Subbiah. Air India’s subsidiary Allaince Air and Sri Lankan government has been trying to fix an issue over a tax imposed by Sri Lanka which would make the trip from Jaffna to Chennai costlier by Rs 3,500.

The fare proposed was around Rs 4,000 from Chennai to Jaffna and the same while return. Sri Lanka is imposing a Colombo departure tax of Rs 3,500 on the flight from Jaffna to Chennai which will make the trip dearer for Jaffna passengers. This technical issue is being taken up. "We have yet to resolve it," said Subbiah.

Interestingly, Batticaloa on the east coast, which was to link with Jaffna and Chennai was also not ready then. They are planning to complete the work before the launch.
Jaffna will become Alliance Air’s 55th and first International addition to the list of stations to its ambit. Initially, Alliance Air is planning to operate thrice a week on the Chennai-Jaffna-Chennai route and increase it to seven flights a week.
The opening of the airport in Jaffna has brought in hope among the Tamils after the Island was hit by civil war. “There has been a huge demand in Jaffna for a direct flight to Chennai after the flight services came to a halt following the Civil War in Sri Lanka. It is a good chance for Tamils here,” says Kayathiri  Kumaran, a resident of Jaffna.
04/11/19 C Shivakumar/New Indian Express

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