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Red and yellow saris and cakes as Indian flight lands in Jaffna

Celebrations were held in Jaffna this morning as the first commercial international flight to Palaly, landed from Tamil Nadu.

The Alliance Air flight departed from Chennai at 10:35 and landed in Jaffna at 12:16 local time, with a total of 13 passengers, who received roses on arrival.

A cake was cut as Alliance Air staff, dressed in their traditional red and yellow uniform, joined the celebrations.

Later that day a return flight from Jaffna to Chennai took off carrying 35 people.

"Apart from being Alliance Air's maiden international foray, it connects Chennai and Jaffna after a gap of 41 years", said a press release from Alliance Air, the Indian airline which operated the first flight.

The news was met with jubilation in Jaffna, with many looking forward to forging traditional links to Tamil Nadu.

“We can now go for art exhibitions and discussions, we can fly across for lit fests even if we are not invited as speakers, we can link up with universities, there’s just so much we can do,” T. Shanaathanan, a visual artist, who teaches art history at the University of Jaffna told The Hindu. “Personally, I am just so excited.”

“And it was not just about Tamil Nadu, but about being linked to a region, with a narrow (Palk) strait separating us. The borders were drawn more clearly by the modern, post-colonial states and they grew rigid with time. Until then, we didn’t think of ourselves as an island,” says Shanaathanan.

See more from The Hindu here.