Colombo: Ending nearly three-year break due to Covid-19 pandemic, flights between Chennai and Palali in Northern Sri Lanka resumed operations on Monday.
Restarting air travel, a flight from Chennai International Airport reached Jaffna International Airport in Palali at 10.50 a.m. on Monday and it left for Chennai at 11.30 a.m.
According to Sri Lankan Civil Aviation Authority, four flights are to be operated every week between the two destinations and number of journeys is to be increased in future.
“Following discussion for nearly six months facilities have been arranged for India’s Alliance Air to fly to Jaffna from Chennai and back,” Maj Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Chairman Civil Aviation Authority told media.
“We are planning to increase the number of flights in the future,” the chairman said.
ATR 72 aircrafts are to be used for the direct flight operations on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
“With the vision to connect to our neighbouring countries, it is our endeavour to offer better air connectivity to all our neighbours with their closest city hubs. Pre-Covid, Alliance Air operated this commercial international flight. With the support from Government of India, Alliance Air will again resume this flight operation,” the Alliance Air said in a statement
“This flight is special in many ways. Apart from being Alliance Air’s maiden international foray, it has connected Chennai to Jaffna after a gap of 41 years. Flyers coming into Chennai from Delhi, Coimbatore, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Dubai, Trivandrum and Muscat have the option of connecting onwards to Jaffna over Chennai making air travel more convenient,” the airline noted.
The airline was earlier a subsidiary of Air India, until the national carrier’s divestment and hand over to the Tata Group in January this year.
The majority Tamils living in Jaffna and the Northern peninsula of Sri Lanka has historical, cultural and religious connections with Chennai and the state of Tamil Nadu and both Sri Lankans and Indians travel between the two destinations.