While confirming that its Shanghai service was suspended after 25 passengers who were in a charter flight were tested positive for COVID-19, SriLankan Airlines said today that its Cargo operation remains unaffected and will continue to fly to China when required.
SriLankan Airlines’ Colombo-Shanghai operation was suspended for a period of four weeks by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
In a statement, SriLankan Airlines said the airline operated a charter flight with 223 Chinese national onboard from Dubai to Shanghai via Colombo on August 7, 2020.
“Prior to this flight SriLankan operated two similar flights from Dubai to Shanghai with zero COVID positive cases.
For the charter flight on August 7, the charter operator insisted for all passengers to take the COVID PCR test from the local professional testing facilities which is also used by other prominent international airlines and carried out PCR tests on each of the 223 passengers.
This testing process was carried out 72 hours prior to boarding the flight and all passengers boarded the flight with negative test results shown at the time of operation of the special charter flight.
These tests were carried out as a pro-active safety measure for the passengers and the crew at a time the PCR test was not considered as a mandatory requirement for China -bound flight out of Dubai.
Despite these measures taken, 25 passengers who were in this charter flight were found positive for COVID upon their arrival in China.
In the wake of the COVID outbreak, The Civil Aviation Authorities in China (CAAC) had introduced a new policy referred as the five one policy, which restricts an airline to operate to one point to China per week.
In line with this new policy, SriLankan Airlines had engaged in operating 15 such charter flights repatriating over 3,000 Chinese passengers from United Kingdom and Dubai to China without any incidents.
As per the CAAC policy, temporary flight suspensions are given to airlines, if only more than five COVID positive cases are found on a flight.
The particular special charter flight operated on August 7 had 23 passengers tested positive for COVID, thus CAAC temporarily suspended SriLankan Airlines for four weeks as per the new regulations in place.”