Russian airline Aeroflot resumes travel services to Sri Lanka after four months | Travel

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot resumed commercial operations to Sri Lanka on Monday, more than four months after the airline suspended flights to the island nation after authorities here briefly detained a plane due to a dispute legal.

On June 2, an Aeroflot Airbus AU 289 flight scheduled to take off from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport to Moscow with 191 passengers and 13 crew members was grounded, the plane’s owner — Celestial Aviation of Ireland — having brought a claim against the airline over an ongoing arbitration over the lease of the plane to London.

Following the dispute, Aeroflot suspended operations between Moscow and Colombo on June 4.

In protest at the grounding of the flight, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Sri Lankan envoy to Moscow to express its displeasure.

Year-to-date, Russia remains Sri Lanka’s third largest tourism source market with some 51,300 arrivals, behind India and the UK.

“The Russian Aeroflot flight has resumed service between Colombo and Moscow today following a recent legal dispute, which resulted in the suspension of flight operations to Sri Lanka,” the Daily Mirror Lanka newspaper tweeted on Monday.

With the arrival of an Aeroflot flight Monday at Katunayake International Airport, the Moscow-Colombo route will be restored, under conditions promised by the Sri Lankan government that none of its planes will be grounded or arrested, news portal reported.

Sri Lankan Tourism Minister Harin Fernando was at the airport when the Aeroflot flight landed at the airport on Monday.

Fernando welcomed the resumption of Aeroflot service and added that it will boost tourism in the country during the winter.

Aeroflot is the oldest international airline that has operated flights to Colombo, and it has operated the Moscow-Colombo route since 1964.

Aeroflot has been hit by Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948.

The economic crisis has led to a severe shortage of foreign exchange reserves, forcing Sri Lankans for months to queue for hours outside shops to buy fuel and cooking gas. PTI CORR VM AKJ VM VM

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