Sri Lanka's Jaffna international airport receives its inaugural flight from Chennai

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In Sri Lanka, Jaffna International Airport (JIA) received its inaugural flight from Chennai today in presence of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe.

The Alliance Air flight, carrying Air India CMD Ashwini Lohani and its CEO C.S.Subbiah among invitees from the aviation sector, made its inaugural landing this morning.

There will be three flights a week to Chennai. Connectivity to Tiruchirapalli and Kochi is also planned in the coming months. This will give a big boost to Jaffna connectivity with Southern India.

Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu was among the dignitaries present on the occasion. He said the flight will improve people-to-people contact between India and Sri Lanka as well as boost tourism and trade between the two neighbors.

Sri Lankan Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said the airport marks an important development for the region as well as the whole of Sri Lanka. Jaffna airport was operational during the 60s and 70s but was closed down following eruption of the LTTE war.

The airport has been developed afresh and the runway length has been extended from 950 to 1400 meters to facilitate ATR 72 aircraft carrying 70 passengers. Under phase 2, the runway length will be extended up to 2,300 meters for bigger aircraft. (AIR NEWS)