SriLankan Airlines to operate limited passenger flights
SriLankan Airlines is restarting limited passenger operations, with flights to a select few destinations that are easing their travel restrictions.
From Wednesday, SriLankan Airlines will offer flights to London, Tokyo (Narita International Airport), Melbourne and Hong Kong. The flights will operate for both passengers and cargo.
Passengers can now purchase tickets for the flights through the airline’s offices or travel agents.
“Passengers who wish to travel using these new flights are reminded that they should ensure that they are eligible to enter the respective countries depending on the restrictions imposed by regulatory authorities in each country,” a statement read.
“Passengers who intend to travel under this scheme is kindly requested check their respective boarder control or emigration authorities or contact their travel agents before purchasing any tickets.”
SriLankan Airlines had in April suspended all of its passenger operations, as the spread of the novel coronavirus hammered global travel demand.
The suspension remains in effect except for the limited flights that are ser to restart Wednesday.
Before the pandemic, SriLankan Airlines was operating four daily flights from Bandaranaike International Airport to the Maldives main Velana International Airport, and six flights per week to Gan International Airport in the southernmost Maldives atoll of Addu.
The flagship carrier of neighbouring Sri Lanka was popular amongst tourists travelling to the Maldives from Europe.
However, all international airlines have suspended scheduled operations to the Maldives, as the island nation enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa in late March in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.
Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.
A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 897.
Three deaths have been reported and 31 have made full recoveries.
The Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.
The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including stay-at-home orders in capital Male and its suburbs, a ban on inter-island transport and public gatherings across the country, and a nationwide closing of government offices, schools, colleges and universities.
Non-essential services and public places in the capital such as gyms, cinemas and parks have also been shut.
Restaurants and cafes in the capital have been asked to stop dine-in service and switch to takeaway and delivery.
A nationwide shutdown of all guesthouses, city hotels and spa facilities located on inhabited islands is also in effect.