As Sri Lanka is reeling under a deep economic crisis, Air India on Sunday said it will reduce its India-Sri Lanka services from 16 flights per week at present to 13 flights per week from 9 April due to poor demand.
Currently, Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis in history as the country’s foreign reserves have been depleted and the Rajapaksa government is struggling to pay for the import of fuel.
With long lines for fuel, cooking gas, essentials in short supply and long hours of power cuts, the public has been suffering for weeks.
“Currently AI is operating 16 flights a week — daily flights from Delhi and nine flights a week from Chennai,” an Air India spokesperson told news agency PTI.
In the new schedule, AI will be operating a total of 13 flights per week, the spokesperson stated.
In the new schedule, while the frequency from Chennai will remain untouched, flights from Delhi will reduce from seven to four per week, the spokesperson said.
“Four flights from Delhi instead of seven effective April 9 due to poor loads,” the spokesperson noted.
AI 283 on the Delhi-Colombo sector will now operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from April 8 to May 30.
AI 284 on the Colombo-Delhi sector will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from April 9 to May 31.
India extends credit line, fuel, food to Sri Lanka
In these difficult times, India has come forward to bail the island nation out of the crisis. India has responded to urgent requests from Sri Lanka with promptness.
“Since January this year, support from India to Sri Lanka exceeds USD 2.5 billion. A fuel line of credit of USD 500 million was signed in February. Four consignments totaling over 150,000 tons of jet aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have since arrived beginning in March. Five more consignments are to follow till May. Another line of credit of USD 1 billion for food, medicine and essential items was signed last month,” Gopal Baglay India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka told ANI.
“The first consignment of rice from India is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka shortly under this credit facility,” Bagley added
Besides, the Reserve Bank of India has extended a currency swap of USD 400 million and deferred payments owed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Asian Clearance Union worth several hundred million dollars.
The Sri Lankan government on Sunday blocked social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after declaring a nationwide public emergency and imposing a 36-hour curfew ahead of a planned anti-government rally over the worst economic crisis in the island nation.
The move is aimed at preventing masses from gathering in Colombo to protest the government’s failure to provide relief to the public suffering from shortages of food, essentials, fuel and medicine amidst hours-long power cuts, the Colombo Page newspaper reported.
With agency inputs
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