Sri Lanka private carrier resumes flights to north

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

Jan 22, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Expo Aviation will recommence twice daily flights to Jaffna in Sri Lanka’s north using a 12-seater Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, a media report said. Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Expo Aviation managing director Seraj Mohammed as saying that demand is seen picking up. The firm was awaiting clearance from civil aviation authorities to start flights.

Expo Aviation used larger 52-seater aircraft for scheduled flights between Colombo and Jaffna during the island’s long-running civil war when the Jaffna peninsula was cut off by land.

Demand had dropped after a land route to Jaffna via the A-9 highway was opened after the war ended. Daily demand for seats had dropped from 200 to 36 after the land route was opened, the report said.

The Sunday Times said the Cessna Grand Caravan had cost 2.6 million US dollars. The firm may also add extra capacity if demand grows, the report said.