First charter flight here on Dec 29 | Daily News

Re-opening of BIA:

First charter flight here on Dec 29

Air Astana, Aeroflot first to operate flights:
Tourism drive begins :

The first charter flight carrying foreign tourists following the re-opening of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), will arrive in Sri Lanka with 300 passengers from Kazakhstan on Tuesday (29).

These passengers will be arriving on the Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana, a Tourism Ministry spokesman said.

This follows the Government lifting the ban on passenger Charter flights to Sri Lanka from today to kick start a tourism drive. Due to logistical reasons, the first flights will however arrive from December 29.

The Tourism Ministry spokesman also asserted that Russian flag carrier Aeroflot which was to fly 300 passengers to Colombo today, will now operate the flight on December 31. A spokesman for the Airport and Aviation and Services (Sri Lanka) also confirmed this date.

The person who has masterminded this tourism promotion among 54,000 tourists from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is Sri Lanka’a former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga.

Commercial scheduled flights (i.e. non-charter) to and from the BIA and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), will start operating from mid January, despite the exact day not being finaliszed yet.

No decision has yet been made on the commencement of international flights from the Palaly International Airport, Jaffna, which is undergoing a major expansion with Indian assistance.

The Government has suspended earlier plans to let Sri Lankans and dual nationals fly into Colombo without prior approval in the wake of the discovery of a new strain of the Coronavirus in the UK. All passenger flights to and from the UK have also been suspended as a temporary measure. They will now need prior registration and approval and also quarantine at a Government-run Quarantine Centre. Sanctioned repatriation flights for Sri Lankans continue to operate as usual depending on the demand and requirements.

Tourists who wish to come to Sri Lanka must show a negative PCR Test report obtained 72 hours prior to embarkation and also have COVID-19 insurance. They will need to stay for two weeks in one facility and be required to test again for COVID-19 during their stay. Any positive cases will be referred to health facilities. Visas will be issued for six months to facilitate these procedures and also to enable those who like to Work From Home to make Sri Lanka a temporary base.

Airports around the world are cautiously re-opening and airlines, too, have increased flight frequencies as the Coronavirus seems to be under control in many countries. However, all countries require proof of negative PCR Tests and COVID-19 insurance.

There is speculation that some airlines and countries are planning to demand proof of COVID-19 vaccination by mid-2021.