Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, will start operating daily flights between Chennai and Jaffna from February 27 onwards.
Earlier, in November 2019, the airline inaugurated commercial flight operations between Chennai International Airport (MAA) and Jaffna International Airport (JAF) thrice a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday).
Following an overwhelming response from passengers, the airline has now announced that it will start daily flights to and from Chennai and Jaffna on all days of the week. “Vanakkam Sri Lanka! Alliance Air flights foray into Jaffna all seven days of the week,” a statement from the airline read.
Flight 9I 101 will depart from Chennai at 1045 hrs and arrive in Jaffna at 1200 hrs on all days of the week. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday Flight 9I 102 will depart from Jaffna at 1245hrs and arrive in Chennai at 1410hrs. On Tuesday & Saturday Flight 9I 102 will depart from Jaffna at 1245hrs and arrive in Chennai at 1355hrs.
The Chennai-Jaffna airfare costs about Rs 3,190 and the Jaffna-Chennai airfare is Rs 3,990.
Commercial flight services between Chennai and Jaffna which were stopped when a civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government broke out in 1983.
After 41 years, former Sri Lankan President Mathiripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe inaugurated the third International airport in the country on October 18, 2019. The Jaffna International Airport was revamped at a cost of 1,950 million rupees (Sri Lankan currency), of which India had funded 300 million. The inaugural ATR-72 aircraft of Alliance Air which ferried Ashwani Lohani, the Chairman and Managing Director of Alliance Air, CEO CS Subbiah and few Indian Journalists to Jaffna was greeted with a water cannon salute after touchdown.
“This flight is special in many ways. Apart from being Alliance Air’s maiden international foray, it has connected Chennai to Jaffna after a gap of 41 years. Flyers coming into Chennai from Delhi, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Dubai, Trivandrum & Muscat have the option of connecting onwards to Jaffna over Chennai making air travel more convenient,” the statement added.
During the civil war, Jaffna Airport formerly known as Palaly Airport, served as a military base for the Sri Lankan army. In late 2001, the airport began its domestic operations. Expo Air now known as Fits Air, provided flight services between Palaly and Colombo. The airline closed operations for a while following a cash crunch. It resumed its services in 2012 and announced two regular flights from Jaffna to Colombo. Though domestic services provided some relief for the residents of Northern Province, International services remained a distant dream for commuters.
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