In response to the seizure of its Airbus A330 jet by the Sri Lankan authorities, Russia’s Aeroflot airline has suspended its commercial flights to Colombo.
In response to the seizure of its Airbus A330 jet by the Sri Lankan authorities, Russia’s Aeroflot airline has suspended its commercial flights to Colombo. This comes a day after the Russian-operated Airbus was seized in the island nation just before it was scheduled to return to Moscow with around 200 passengers on board. “Aeroflot is suspending commercial flights to Colombo for the immediate period due to an unreliable situation in terms of the airline’s unobstructed flights to Sri Lanka. The sales of tickets for flights to Colombo have been temporarily shut down,” the Russian Airline said in a statement, Daily Mirror reported.
The statement further noted that passengers with return tickets to Russia from Colombo on June 2, 4, and 5 will be transported to Russia from Sri Lanka on June 4 and 5. It further stated that repatriation flights would fly to Colombo sans passengers. The airline also ensured that passengers having tickets to Moscow for later dates would also be brought back as per their schedule. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Airport and Aviation Services issued a statement on Friday stating that the flight to Moscow, which was supposed to depart on June 2, had been cancelled due to the lack of permission from the country’s aviation authorities.
A court hearing over Russia’s aeroplane seizure is scheduled for June 8
Further, Sri Lanka’s Commercial High Court stated that the disagreement between the Russian airline and Celestial Aviation Trading Limited (CATL) was entirely a commercial matter that should be resolved between the two parties, with no government interference. Sri Lanka’s Airport and Aviation Services stated that a court hearing to lift the aeroplane’s seizure is scheduled for June 8. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it has summoned Sri Lankan Ambassador Janitha Abeywickrama Liyanage and protested the seizure of an Aeroflot Airbus at Bandaranaike International Airport.
Russian government called on Sri Lanka to resolve the issue as soon as possible
“We called on the Sri Lankan side to resolve this problem in a short time in order to avoid its negative impact on traditionally friendly bilateral relations,” the ministry stated, Daily Mirror reported. It should be noted here that Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also proposed to privatise the country’s airline which is running into severe losses. “The loss for 2020-2021 alone amounts to SLR 45 billion. By 31st March 2021, the total loss was at 372 billion. Even if we privatise Sri Lankan airline, this is a loss that we must bear,” he remarked,” he stated while addressing the nation on May 17.