The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) reopens today (1) but passengers from India or Vietnam or with a travel history to these countries within the past 14 days are not permitted to enter the country.
Speaking to The Morning Business, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) Additional Director General P.A. Jayakantha clarified that the airport was open, however, the passenger movement into the island was restricted due to the prevailing pandemic situation.
“For the time being, from today (1) onwards, we (CAASL) are not accepting passengers only from India and Vietnam,” said the Additional Director General, elaborating that the passengers are not allowed from the aforementioned two countries and the passengers who have travelled even in terms of transit to the said countries during the last 14 days, are also not allowed to enter the country.
Jayakantha said no person who enters the country has been categorised as a tourist or such but is considered a passenger. Thus, “we (CAASL) allow 75 passengers in a flight” he said, indicating that in order to maintain social distance to safeguard the health condition of the passengers throughout the flight, the CAASL has taken measures to limit the passenger flight capacity to 75 passengers per flight.
According to the Airflyby.com travel blog, passenger airplanes carry an average of 200-300 passengers on board. However, the exact number of passengers depends on the construction of the aircraft, type of the airplane, and the service in Airport that is offered in the particular passenger airplane.
Additionally, Jayakantha explained that the restrictions and regulations may vary from time to time and change according to the situation of the pandemic, especially the decisions made by the health authorities in the country. He clarified that what is being mentioned now refers to the present situation with regard to the passenger flights arrival.
Furthermore, Additional Director General Jayakantha said that all the passengers who enter the country since today are subjected to a 14-day quarantine irrespective of whether they are inoculated or not.
“They are subjected to the 14-day quarantine, irrespective of the country (of departure) or having the vaccine,” he said.
Earlier, the health authorities issued health regulations separately for the individuals who came to the country on the basis of being inoculated and remained for two weeks, those who were not inoculated, and those who received only the first dose of the jab and negative results on the PCR performed prior to entering the country. However, now, none of the factors are taken into consideration and all the arriving passengers are directed to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Jayakantha said that the quarantine has been declared mandatory according to the Ministry of Health.
Yesterday (31 May), CAASL Director General Themiya Abeywickrama expressed that this travel restriction will be in effect till further notice and all the airlines have been informed about the flight and passenger restrictions. It is, in fact, due to the circumstances in those countries.