|Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama
The Government has approved two new airlines to operate into Sri Lanka, increasing the number of registered carriers to nearly 40.
Ethiopian Airlines and Maldivian Airlines are the two approved so far among six new applications received by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL).
The approval of GoAir – an Indian low-cost airline; Sky Capital Airlines – a Bangladesh cargo airline; Jetsar – an Australian low-cost airline; Air Falcon – a cargo carrier from Pakistan; and Jazeera Airways from Kuwait is pending.
CAASL Director General Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama said yesterday that as of January 2020 there were a total of 35 registered airlines.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic only eight international airlines and 15 charter carriers were operating to Sri Lanka. These include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Kuwait Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines. Among the new charter carriers are Ukraine International Airlines, SkyUp Airlines, and Air Astana of Kazakhstan operating to Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).
The Director General also said that five airlines are scheduled to operate to Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) today (22 January) which includes Qatar Airways, China Eastern Airline, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. A special evacuation flight of Air India will also operate to BIA today.
Moreover, a SriLankan Airlines flight from Melbourne, a Skyup charter flight from Ukraine, and an Aero Elite flight, are also scheduled to operate to MRIA today.
“All these flights combined there are 568 passengers confirmed as of today, but these numbers can increase,” Abeywickrama told the Daily FT.
He said another six flights are scheduled to be operated to BIA on Saturday, which includes Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Indigo and Oman Air. (CdeS)