Sri Lanka will resume international flights operations from 26 December, eight months after they were closed in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) said it would be soon issuing directives to the travel industry on the opening of Sri Lanka’s airspace for commercial and charter flights operations.
The country’s two international airports were closed in mid-March, as the country went into a lockdown. The lockdown was gradually lifted by mid-May. Initial plans were to open international flight by the end of August but the COVID-19 cases abroad rose and the plans were stalled.
Sri Lanka was hit by a coronavirus second wave in October. The number of deaths which stood at just 13 in early October, stand at 147 presently. In total, the island-nation has recorded 32,135 COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University. The number of recovered cases are above 22,000 and around 8,000 are currently in hospitals.
Earlier, the Sri Lankan government postponed all repatriation flights in the wake of a Covid-19 cluster detected at a garment manufacturing facility in Gampaha district. According to Foreign Ministry on Covid-19 Action and director general in East Asia, Kandeepan Balasubramaniam, nearly 40,000 stranded Sri Lankan citizens from 122 counties have returned to the country so far.
Government also announced complete shutdown of services at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) including departures until further notice after a minor staff employee tested positive for Covid-19.