In a bid to support country’s tourism industry and help in easing the economic crisis, Sri Lankan Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on 18 June said it will resume flights from the northern Jaffna peninsula to India next month.

“The northern Jaffna peninsula’s Palaly airport is to resume flights to India from next month,” Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, though he he did not specify a date.

“Resuming the flights would improve tourism and help the country in the current dollar crisis,” de Silva added.

Post inspection of the airport de Silva said the runway can only accommodate 75-seater flights and therefore needs to be extended and expects Indian assistance for runway improvements.

With the new move, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority plans to attract 8,00,000 tourists during the rest of the year.

Earlier in 2019, the airport was named the Jaffna international airport and the first international flight to land there was from Chennai. It was funded by both Sri Lanka and India in 2019 for redevelopment.

Prior to the government change in Sri Lanka in November 2019, India’s Alliance Air conducted three weekly flights from Chennai to Palaly. Later the flight operations were halted. Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

Due to the economic crisis, an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuel, toilet paper, and even matches forced the Sri Lankans to to wait in lines lasting hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.