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Sri Lanka airport allowing ferry flights, outbound passengers, cargo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s airport is open for outbound passengers and cargo so far, a top official said, after the last Buddhist pilgrims from India came to the country.

“The airport is still operating,” Director Operations Shehan Sumanasekara said. “No incoming flights that are on the way have been asked to stop.”

Sri Lanka ordered airlines to stop boarding inbound passengers from 0400hour March 1900 until March 25, from all locations, but flights were allowed to bring vital cargo keeping the country linked to the rest of the world.

Sri Lanka also allowed outbound passengers to leave the country. Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority later restricted transit passengers to 6 hours.

However, the rule inbound passenger ban was relaxed for SriLankan Airlines to bring back some passengers from India.

The foreign ministry said the last pilgrims had come on Sunday.

The Civil Aviation Authority told airlines Sunday that previous instruction on restricting arrivals till March 26, 6-hour transit limit remained unchanged.

Sri Lanka started to quarantine passengers from high-risk countries from March 10 and selectively blocked arrivals from other countries before finally closing to all incoming traffic except those in India on March 19.

Sumanasekara said a total of 3,400 passengers had arrived in March and pall passenger operations were halted at 1245 hours on March 22 until further notice. (Colombo/Mar22/2020-sb)

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