Only cargo flights from India permitted
By Dinitha Rathnayake
Passenger flights from India are not allowed to disembark in Sri Lanka due to the temporary ban imposed on Indian travellers to the country, but cargo flights from India will be permitted, The Morning learnt.
Speaking to The Morning, Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. Director Operations Shehan Sumanasekara said that 10 cargo flights were operated from India from 10-16 May.
“A number of flights from India landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) over the past few days. These include cargo flights of the IndiGo Airlines (flight 6E8481 from Chennai on 10 May, and 6E9961 and 6E8481 from Chennai on 11 May), FitsAir (8D322 from Chennai on 15 May), and SriLankan Airlines (UL144 from Mumbai on 11 May, UL1030 from Chennai on 12 May, UL144 from Mumbai and UL126 from Chennai on 15 May, and UL1431 and UL1429 on 16 May) but not passenger flights operated by them. We are not allowing any passenger flights from India since the country banned travellers from India with effect from 6 May, including those who visited India 14 days prior to the date the ban came into effect.”
However, we have received 52 tourists on 16 May from the countries that are allowed to disembark in Sri Lanka, he noted. “21 out of the 52 were Sri Lankan foreign passport holders,” he added.
Sri Lanka has functioned as a transit hub for Indians visiting other destinations like West Asia and Singapore, prior to which they needed to be quarantined for 14 days. Sri Lankan tourism authorities were to continue receiving Indian tourists under a travel bio bubble for which special facilities were set up. The Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, in a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, however on 6 May said: “In accordance with the instructions received from the health authorities of Sri Lanka due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, it is hereby directed that passengers travelling from India will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka with immediate effect.”
Also, several countries like the UK, the UAE, Australia, and Singapore have already banned travellers from India as well as other South Asian countries.