Colombo (NVI): An air service between Chennai and Jaffna was launched today by India, which described it as yet another example of its commitment towards people-oriented development projects in Sri Lanka.
The inaugural flight ATR73-600 of state-run Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air, carrying Indian dignitaries, landed at Jaffna airport from Chennai. This is Alliance Air’s first international flight.
The first flight landed as Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the Jaffna International Airport.
Regular commercial flights between Chennai and Jaffna are scheduled to start from early next month.
Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu hailed the commencement of short-haul air service and said the bilateral relations have now “truly touched the sky”.
Sandhu recalled the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, in which he had said, “The future I dream for India is also a future that I want for our neighbours”.
It may be recalled that the Government of India had earlier extended grant assistance for the rehabilitation of runway and basic infrastructure at the Palaly Airfield under the MoU concluded in November 2005 with Sri Lankan government.
Both sides have also been working towards operationalization of regional commercial passenger flights from Jaffna.
The recent expansion of the airport along with setting up of ancillary facilities has been done by the Sri Lankan government.
The inauguration was also attended by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani and Alliance Air CEO C S Subbiah.