State Minister D.V. Chanka, Maldives High Commissioner Omar Abdul Razzak, Janaka Sri Chandragupta, G.A.Chandrasiri Chairman AASL, Vice Chairman AASL Rajiv Sooriyaarachchi , Deirdre De Livera Director of AASL, Ramly Vilcassim, General Manager Nawaloka Aviation, Shamith Wijethilaka Head Business Nawaloka Aviation and officials at the Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana
Maldivian Airlines, which is the national carrier of Maldives represented in Sri Lanka by Nawaloka Air Services, will commence scheduled flight operations between Maldives and Colombo International Airport, Rathmalana (CIAR) from March 27, 2022. This is the first time after 54 years that international flights are being operated from CIAR.
“The initial flight schedule is Male – Colombo will be on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays”, said Deirdre De Livera, Director of Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka Limited at Ratmalana Airport.
“This flight schedule will increase as we progress into the summer schedule thereby making it possible for Male travelers to access Colombo more easily, conveniently and smoothly accessing other tourist destinations within the country via our domestic flight network.”
There would be around 50 passengers per flight comprising tourists, resident medical travelers plus Sri Lanka migrant travelers to the Maldives while enabling local travelers a quick and easy gateway from Colombo to Maldives. An ATR and Bombardier aircraft with maximum capacity of 70 would be deployed for this operation. This is also the first time a complete ground handling service will be provided by AASL’s own team and this is a huge achievement for AASL.
Minister of Tourism Prassana Ranatunga too was behind this project and today, banking, hotel and taxi services, Tourists Board communication and restaurant catering by the Vanilla pod of Sri Lanka catering have been added to the airport instructor recently. “Duty free shopping would also be made available on arrival and departure”, he said.
State Minister of Aviation and Development Exports Zones, D.V. Chanka said this flight flies to Colombo due to refurbishment done recently to the airport. “The Attidiya land of 42 hectares was completed at a value of Rs 42 million. The Eastern Taxiway and Apron Overlay project estimated at Rs. 200 million is due to be completed shortly. However a terminal enhancement project of Rs. 500 million was put on hold on account of the current economic situation.”
Omar Abdul Razzak, High Commissioner Maldives said more than 12,000 Maldivian nationals were resident in and around Mount Lavinia, Dehiwala and around Colombo in close proximity to CIAR which is an added advantage to these residents travelers. “For 5 decades Maldivians traveled from Male to Colombo and we have a long relationship with Sri Lanka.’’