Chennai-Jaffna flights to resume in next few months

Tourism Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga.

Flights between Chennai and Jaffna, which were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume in the next few months, sats Tourism Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga.

The Minister said the Jaffna Palaly Airport will be developed and upgraded with a view to launching regional international airlines and flights.

Minister Ranatunga, in a statement also said that a number of airlines are already in talks with Sri Lanka to launch regional flights connecting Sri Lanka, including the Maldives and several South Indian destinations.

According to the Jaffna Palaly Airport Development Programme, shortcomings at the airport are currently being identified and will be implemented in three phases.

By the end of the third phase, the runway will be extended 3,300 metres to the north and facilities for large-scale aircraft operations will be developed.

The passenger lounge will be expanded to accommodate up to 1,000 passengers and all other facilities will be upgraded to international standards.

Domestic flights will be promoted connecting Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana, Jaffna International Airport and Batticaloa International Airport.

Steps will be taken to identify tourism locations in the North and the East and to carry out marketing promotions in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Airlines to promote such locations as tourist hot spots.

The project aims to earn a large amount of foreign exchange by successfully completing airport infrastructure projects in the process of positioning Sri Lanka as an aviation hub.

Established by the Royal Air Force during World War II, the Palaly Airport in Jaffna was used for South Indian destinations after independence. International aviation was restricted since 1980 due to security concerns and by 2002 it was fully under the control of the Sri Lanka Air Force.