Alliance Air goes international, launching flights between Chennai & Jaffna

Alliance Air, the fully-owned subsidiary of Air India, which operates the regional network for Air India using turboprop aircraft, has just gone international. The airline, which is used to operate in the shadows of Air India, just recently got the approval to fly internationally, and they just flew their maiden international flight, launching Chennai – Jaffna flights on October 17, 2019, coinciding with Jaffna Airport opening up for international flights.

Given that Jaffna is on the northern tip of Sri Lanka, at the moment, those who wanted to travel to/fro Jaffna to Chennai had to first travel 3-4 hours to Colombo Airport before taking a flight back in the same direction from where they came from. The flying time between the two airports is less than an hour. The Jaffna Airport opening up for international traffic after decades helped restore this link between the two cities.

Jaffna Airport Opening

The commercial launch of these 3 times a week flights between Chennai and Jaffna will be on November 1, 2019, and today’s flight was more a test flight, but the chairman of Air India flew on this flight along with the CEO of Alliance Air.

The Sri Lankan government has also given sixth freedom rights to Alliance Air, which means that Alliance Air will be able to use this flight to bring connecting traffic for Air India’s international flights as well. The airstrip was extended to be able to accommodate ATR operations and will be further extended to be able to bring in the A320/B737 single-aisle aircraft at some point in time. Flights between Trichy and Jaffna are also being planned.

This is a very interesting move because using turboprops could perhaps also mean at some point in time Alliance Air might want to do the Male segments also.

What do you make of the maiden international flight for Alliance Air? Just a political move or will it really help things?



About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Not sure what the objective here is. 3x weekly to Jaffna versus existing 8x daily to Colombo- is this going to be purely run on VFR traffic? Also, this launch is at a time when tourism demand in Sri Lanka is down a lot from last year.
    Further, the big question I (always) have with these Air India launches is how they expect to fill up seats when the launch date is 2 weeks away (or sometimes even less). This flight isn’t even on sale on Google Flights as far as I can tell. Thoughts, Ajay?

  2. It really helps if flights are arranged from western countries (London, Toronto, Germany, Australia, Paris etc) so former residents of Jaffna can visit their relatives for holidays etc.

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