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Jaffna International Airport to get Rs. 200 million upgrade with more flights from India planned

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Aviation has reportedly approved a Rs. 200 million upgrade for the Jaffna International Airport, as it looks to operate an increasing number of flights to India and the south of the island.

Nimal Siripala de Silva visited the airport earlier this month, which remains within a Sri Lankan military-controlled ‘High Security Zone’.

International flights from Palaly airport had been functioning until the 1970s. During the early 1990s, the airport and surrounding areas were declared a High Security Zone and all the residents were expelled.

According to a report compiled by TamilNet.com, the area around the airport was “one of the most militarized areas in the island situated within one of the largest High Security Zones (HSZ) in the island” and that “the largest number of HSZ instigated displacement of civilians is from this Palaly HSZ.”

The airport remains occupied by the Sri Lankan military which has used the region as an air force base for its fleets of jets that were extensively used in bombing raids throughout the armed conflict.

In 2019, Palaly airport was redeveloped with the support of the Indian government.

India’s Alliance Air currently operates daily flights from Chennai, bringing in around 60 passengers per flight, reports the Daily Mirror. A second Indian airline, IndiGo, is also looking to operate flights between the two regions.

Read more about ongoing military occupation in the North-East:

Army blocks displaced Tamils from viewing seized land in Jaffna

Militarisation: another pre-school visit to Palali airport

Militarisation games - Sri Lankan Army holds kabaddi tournament on Palali occupied land


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