Sri Lankan Airlines will operate three repatriation flights from two Indian cities to bring back stranded citizens. One flight from Amritsar and two from Coimbatore will depart for Colombo on Thursday and Friday, respectively. These flights come as more countries begin repatriation efforts from India, which has banned all international flights indefinitely.
These three repatriation flights are being operated to rescue Sri Lankan students studying in India. India is also home to approximately 200,000 Sri Lankans, a majority of whom live in the southern state of Tamil Nadu (where Coimbatore is located). The flights will be essential to the many citizens stuck in India and we could possibly see more flights in the future.
Prior to the coronavirus, Sri Lankan Airlines flew regular services to both Amritsar and Coimbatore, making these flights slightly easier. Sri Lankan is operating flights from multiple countries to bring back stranded students and pilgrims from countries such as Pakistan and Nepal, as well as the city of Wuhan.
Sri Lanka is one of many countries that are flying repatriation flights from India. Since the flight ban was imposed numerous repatriation flights have taken place, with more in the works. The US, UK, Japan, New Zealand, and UAE are just some of the countries operating these flights. In addition to this, Air Indiahas also flown dozens of repatriation flights to Europe among other places.
The main reason for so many repatriation flights is India’s flight ban and the high number of foreigners in India. India imposed a one week ban on international flights on 22nd March and has since then extended this ban. India is also home to millions of foreigners from dozens of countries, complicating efforts and resulting in hundreds of flights.