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Cabinet approval sought to upgrade Palay airport

Three ministries have sought Cabinet approval to upgrade Palaly airport to a regional airport with flights operating to and from South India, the Sunday Times reports. 

A paper submitted by the ministries of Transport and Civil Avaition, Policy Planning and Economic Development and Tourism seeks Rs 1.2 billion for the development plan. 

“The initial plan will be to convert Palaly into a regional airport and thereafter to an international airport with flights to other countries,” Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was quoted by the paper as saying. 

The airport, which is currently within a militarised high security zone on military-occupied land, currently functions as a military airport. 

Jaffna's District Additional Secretary, S Muralitharan told the Sunday Times that a feasibility study had been carried out. Of the 1000 acres of land on which the airport is situated, 750 acres would be used to develop the new airport, whilst 250 acres would be released to civilians. 

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The development of Palaly airport and its functioning as a regional civilian airport has been raised a number of times since the end of the armed conflict, most notably by the Indian government, who at one point offered to fund the re-development. However, no progress has been made to date.