Jaffna International Airport (JIA) has been officially declared open as third international airport of Sri Lanka, on the 17th October 2019. The airport will be managed by the Airport and Aviation services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. International flight services are expected to begin from November.
The airport was initially established during the Second World War by the British Army as the Palaly Airport. However, the Sri Lankan armed forces used it as an air force base for military operations during the Civil War. It is only after the end of this war in 2009 that new opportunities opened up for the airport to be utilized up to its potential.
The JIA airport has been upgraded with a total estimated cost of 2.25 billion LKR, out of which 300 million LKR was granted by the Indian government. The airport is expected to many job opportunities for local residents, and will pave the way for increased investment in road networks, electricity, water and telecommunication facilities as well as the hotel industry within this strategically positioned region.
In addition, the opening of the JIA is expected to boost Sri Lanka’s tourism sector in the northern parts of the island. The JIA is scheduled to handle direct flights from Indian destinations such Chennai, Madurai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Varanasi. In the future, it will expand to accommodate flights from the Maldives, Malaysia, and other destinations as well.