Kazakhstan’s national carrier Air Astana landed at the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa international Airport on Saturday with 164 tourists on board heralding the resumption of international flight operations at the airport for the first time since 2015, a Minister said .
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said this was the first time that an international flight has resumed operations at the MRIA according to a schedule after 2015. The previous Yahapalana government stopped flight operations at the airport dubbing it as an economically unviable project. Air Astana Airlines flight KC 565 landed at MRIA . This was the first time that the Kazakhstani national carrier Air Astana had commenced on direct flight connectivity with Sri Lanka.
Minister said that this was the first time that a large number of tourists had visited the country since the country reopened for tourists on January 21. He said that flights will be operated from Kazakhstan’s Almart Airport to MRIA and are scheduled to arrive at Mattala Airport every Saturday until April.
Minister Ranatunga said that both parties had agreed to continue operating this direct airline thereafter. The minister said that two of Sri Lanka’s leading travel agencies have planned to bring 350 Kazakh tourists to the country.
Accordingly, the Saturday’s arrival from Kazakhstan was the first group.
The group will stay at hotels in Ahungalla, Bentota and Kalutara and will visit several approved tourist destinations under the Tourism Bio Bubble concept, the minister said.(Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)