Russo-Lanka relations: Aeroflot seeks guarantees on fuel supply

Flights to resume to Colombo from 9 Oct.
Russian state carrier Aeroflot will resume operations to Sri Lanka from 9 October, on a schedule of two flights per week.

According to Minister of Ports and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Russian Federal Transport Authority has indicated willingness to resume operations from next month, subject to the condition that the Civil Aviation Authority must provide an uninterrupted supply of aviation fuel.

“If the provider fails to provide fuel, the Government has to pay the cost of the Aeroflot flight refuelling at another destination. I have discussed this issue with the Finance Minister and the President and they have given their approval. We have communicated to the Russian authorities that we are ready to abide by that agreement,” Minister de Silva told The Sunday Morning.

The Russian flagship carrier announced that it is suspending commercial flights to Sri Lanka after local authorities detained one of the airline’s Airbus A330 jet aircraft based on a Court order due to a commercial arbitration issue on 2 June.

“Aeroflot is suspending commercial flights to Colombo (Sri Lanka) 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,” Russian state-owned news agency TASS said at the time, quoting the airline.

Aeroflot played a pivotal role in flying Russian tourists to Sri Lanka during the Covid-19 pandemic period, when many countries had issued travel bans on Sri Lanka, hampering the expected recovery of the tourism industry.

– By Asiri Fernando
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