Sri Lanka’s third international airport, the Jaffna International Airport (JIA), was declared open today.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were the chief guests at the opening ceremony.
Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and several other Ministers also attended the event.
Alliance Air from India was the first flight to land at the new international airport.
Alliance Air is to operate 7 flights a week from Chennai to Palaly and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka with its ATR 72-600 airplanes.
The airport, situated 20 KMs from the Jaffna City, has been equipped with a 2.3 KM long runway.
Sri Lanka’s first international airport is the Bandaranaike International Airport while the second was constructed with Chinese funding in Mattala.
India assisted in the development of the Jaffna airport which was earlier used as a military airport and for domestic flights.
The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, in his address, noted that the bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka have now truly touched the sky.
He added that the inaugural flight was yet another example of India’s commitment to continue with people-oriented development projects in Sri Lanka.
It was also a reflection of the shared commitment to further strengthen people-to-people ties between India and Sri Lanka, which lies at the heart of the bilateral relationship.
The High Commissioner recalled the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, in which he had said that, “The future I dream for India is also a future that I want for our neighbours”.
Regular commercial flights between Chennai and Jaffna are scheduled to start from early November 2019.