Russian Embassy in Colombo tweeted after Sri Lanka welcomed the first Azur air flight with 335 passengers onboard at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, “IMPORTANT: Russian president Vladimir #Putin ordered the Government of Russia to increase the number of flights between #Russia and friendly [email protected]”
In early June, Russia stopped flights to Sri Lanka after an A330-300 operated by Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot was detained post Colombo commercial court issued an order over a legal dispute with an Irish leasing vehicle Celestial Aviation Trading.
Due to strong protest by Russia, the Sri Lanka government quickly intervened and released the flight and guaranteed that no Russian flights would be stopped. However, Russian airlines were reluctant to return to Sri Lanka until October 10 when an Aeroflot flight resumed flights between Moscow and Colombo.
Resumption of Russian flights has brought much hope for Sri Lanka’s tourism for the year’s biggest season as Russia holds the record of second highest tourism arrival to the island nation after India.
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando tweeted: “Russian charter @azurairline touched down today at BIA with 335 passengers on board. The airline will operate 4 flights a week and Aeroflot with 3 flight a week which will make upto 7 flights weekly. Most seats already sold out upto end Jan 2023.”
Reviving hopes for the return of European tourist arrival, Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry also has announced that Air France, the flag carrier of France is to resume its flights to Sri Lanka from Friday (November 4).
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando in a Twitter message announced that Switzerland’s national airline, Swiss International Air Lines, is scheduled to resume operations with weekly flights starting from November 10 to May.
Burdened by the worst-ever financial crisis since 1948 independence, Sri Lanka awaits the revival of tourism, one of main foreign currency earner, which was dashed by 2019 Easter Sunday terrorism attack, two years of Covid-19 pandemic and political crisis started early this year with violent street fights following shortages of most essential items including food, fuel and medicine.
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