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“Chennai Jaffna daily flights from July 16”

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Union Minister of Civil Aviation in India Jyotiraditya Scindia has announced that the frequency of flights between Chennai and Sri Lanka’s Jaffna will be increased from four times a week to daily services from July 16.

The daily flights from Chennai to Jaffna will also amplify trade and commerce between India and Sri Lanka, Scindia noted in a pre-recorded message on day-2 of the 67th Annual Convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), being hosted in Colombo.

The convention is held after an 18-year hiatus and over 700 are attending. In his address, he underscored the strong cultural and trade relations between India and Sri Lanka.

At the convention, he said, “Prior to 2014, India’s aviation sector was on the runway. In the last nine years, it has finally taken off. A stable and competitive aviation sector is on the angle.”

“I believe that our partnership with Sri Lanka gives us a rare opportunity to undertake several reforms to address short term challenges in the sector and become an important access of power and influence in the global aviation ecosystem.”

He added that the first air service agreement between the two countries was signed in 1968, allowing Indian carriers to operate aircraft from any point in India to any point in Sri Lanka, which enhanced the connectivity in the Global South.

“Currently, 16 flights are operational from different sectors of India to Colombo. Cargo movement has also been smoothened and with the assistance from both governments, we are operating a direct flight from Chennai to Jaffna today through this platform,” Scindia said.

He also announced that based on increased demand and potential of this route to amplify trade and commerce, “we will increase this frequency from four times a week to daily flights effective from July 16, 2023.”

Sri Lanka Tourism said that India continues to lead among the top ten markets, with the number of Indian tourist arrivals expected to double by 2023.

The event was inaugurated by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Tourism plays a vital role in the bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka. The central government introduced the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme for Sri Lankan tourists on April 14, 2015, and reduced the visa fee as a goodwill gesture.

Of a total of 1.91 million tourists visiting Sri Lanka in 2019, 355,000 were from India. (ANI)

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