Airlines reinstate flights to Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, 23 February 2021: More airlines are resuming semi-commercial flights to Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake that serves the capital Colombo, the airport announced on its Facebook Page.

Salam Air, an Omani airline, flew 75 Sri Lankans, repatriating from Muscat last week and will operate weekly flights every Thursday from Oman’s capital city.

The Thai AirAsia flight FD140/AIQ departed Bangkok 1945 and arrived in Colombo at 2200 on Monday. Timetable information and flight status noted no services operated to Colombo from Bangkok over the last 14 days. Pre Covid-19, Thai AirAsia and AirAsia offered nine flights weekly from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Fly Dubai has resumed twice-weekly flights a Boeing 737 between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Bandaranaike International Airport on Tuesday and Thursday starting 18 February 2021, according to the airport’s Facebook posts.

Also in the Middle East, Gulf Air started a twice-weekly service from Bahrain to Colombo.

Jazeera Airways relaunches international services to Asia starting with Sri Lanka, 24 February when it reconnects Kuwait with Colombo with a single weekly flight

Jazeera Airways CEO Rohit Ramachandran commented in the announcement:  “Despite the current global situation for the airline industry, we are now able to serve the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait as well as tourists to Sri Lanka.”

Flights to Sri Lanka were halted following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last March but are now slowly resuming as the country eases health rules that reduce quarantine for bubble stays at sanitised resorts.

Overseas Sri Lankans commented on Colombo’s airport Facebook pages claiming unfair treatment. They argue that foreigners can visit the country on a three-day quarantine that gives them limited access to a resort and surrounding communities based on a negative Covid-19 test. Citizens returning home must comply with the full 14-day quarantine rule.

The Facebook comment aimed at the airport authorities said: “U welcome all the airlines, but overseas working Sri Lankans can’t come back to their land without prior approval or forced quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, the foreigners require only three days of quarantine.”