Maldivian to commence flights to Ratmalana Intl' Airport

National carrier Maldivian will be commencing operation to Sri Lanka's Colombo International Airport (Ratamalana Airport) on March 27, Island Aviation (IAS) has said.

Maldivian has been operating to Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport until now. While Colombo International Airport is closest to the Maldives, the route will be shorter.

IAS on Thursday said a large number of Maldivians reside in the areas near Ratmalana Airport. Therefore, commencing operation to the airport would bring eases to the Maldivians who live in the area, said IAS.

Around 9,000 Maldivians reside in the area surrounding Ratmalana Airport.

The return fare for the route is USD 299. While flights have been scheduled for March 27. 29, 31, and April 3, bookings can be made online on Maldivian's mobile application and website.

Ratmalana Airport was established in 1935 as Sri Lanka's first international airport. Regional international operation was suspended in 1968, and the airport is now used for domestic operations and to accommodate some private jets. A flying school is also run at the site.

The Sri Lankan government has authorized to use the airport for the regional international operation to South Asian countries. Its government recently took steps to remove aircraft parking and parking charges for one year to promote international flights at Ratmalana Airport and to suspend the airport service tax levied on passengers for one year.