BY Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana (CIAR) commenced International Regional Flight Operations after five decades. Parallel to the commencement of flight operations, the New Taxiway and Overlaid Apron was opened at the CIAR to facilitate smooth flight operations.
Island Aviation Services Limited, wholly-owned by the Government of the Maldives and the Maldivian National Airlines commenced international regional flight operations between its main hub at Velana International Airport (VIA)and CIAR.
The inaugural flight from VIA to CIAR, DHB 300, 50-seater aircraft touched ground at 9.00 a.m. yesterday (27) and was welcomed by a celebratory water cannon salute upon arrival followed by an inaugural ceremony to welcome dignitaries and guests.
Minister of Youth and Sports Namal Rajapaksa, State Minister of Regional Co-operation Tharaka Balasuriya, Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak,State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development, D.V. Chanaka, Major General (Rtd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, Chairman AASL, Board of Directors and senior officials of Airport Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited, and officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL).
CAASL implemented an aggressive strategy to utilise its resources effectively to contribute to the development of the aviation industry in Sri Lanka. As a result of pursuing the opportunities, AASL was able to re-commence regional flight operations to the Maldives, connecting Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana after a period of 50 years. Initially, the airline will operate scheduled flights, (Dash-8 aircraft with 50 seats) between Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Colombo) three times a week and the frequency will be increased to five from May 2022.
The Schedule flights are Q2 944 MLE 0600 RML 0840 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Q2 945 RML 0940 MLE 1120 also on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
CIAR was the first international airport in Sri Lanka, established in 1935. CIAR is managed and operated by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited (AASL).