Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, revealed plans to increase the frequency of flights between Chennai, India, and Jaffna, Sri Lanka, from four times a week to daily services starting July 16. The announcement was made during the 67th annual convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) in Colombo. With over 500 experts and professionals from the tourism, aviation, and travel sectors in attendance, the convention aimed to strengthen the cultural ties between India and Sri Lanka.
Highlighting the historical partnership between the two nations, Scindia emphasised the importance of reforms to address short-term challenges in the aviation sector and establish India as a significant influencer in the global aviation ecosystem. Currently, there are 16 operational flights connecting various Indian cities to Colombo. The increased frequency between Chennai and Jaffna aims to boost trade and commerce while facilitating smoother cargo movement.
The resumption of flight services between Chennai and Jaffna in December 2022, after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marked an important milestone. The Jaffna International Airport, named Sri Lanka’s third international airport in October 2019, received its inaugural flight from Chennai. The tourism sector, a vital source of foreign exchange earnings for Sri Lanka, suffered greatly during the pandemic-induced restrictions. The increased connectivity is expected to revitalise the industry.
Scindia called for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to further elevate the aviation industry and achieve mutual milestones over the next decade. The convention featured panel discussions, business-to-business sessions, and highlighted the profound cultural, religious, and linguistic connections between India and Sri Lanka. As the Indian civil aviation industry undergoes transformation, Scindia expressed confidence in its stable and competitive future, with a focus on infrastructure development, improved services, and enhanced cross-border tourism.