By Charumini de Silva
Airlines have expressed readiness to resume flights to Sri Lanka by mid-July, two weeks earlier than the Government’s announced planned reopening of the country to international travellers.
The willingness to resume operations by 15 July was conveyed by airline representatives during a travel industry meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa last week.
The sentiments were expressed by members of the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR).
The Government and Sri Lanka Tourism recently said it plans to reopen the Bandaranaike International Airport from 1 August and so far there is no change in the plans.
Apart from BAR, the Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition and Event Organisers (SLAPCEO), were present at the meeting with Prime Minister whilst Tourism and Aviation Services Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senerath and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando were present at well.
Sources said that Prime Minister had requested the airlines to discuss the matter with Minister Ranatunga and National Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe as well as Civil Aviation Authority whilst ensuring the right health safety protocols are given priority and adhered to as part of the management of the post-COVID-19 phase.
Several countries which had closed their borders owing to COVID-19 pandemic have begun reopening with strict health safety regulations and practices.
Daily FT learns in tandem with reopening of their national borders some airlines likely to announce departure flights from Colombo before resuming in-bound flights as and when Colombo is ready.