Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai Int'l) will operate a one-off charter flight from Chennai to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka on October 14, 2019, as it prepares to launch maiden scheduled services to secondary cities on the island, Ceylon Today has reported.

The initial flight to Jaffna will be the first international commercial service to the airport since the 1980s, when the airport was converted to a military-only facility during the Sri Lankan Civil War. In 2002, the Sri Lanka Air Force opened the domestic passenger terminal at the airport. In early 2019, the government approved a LKR2.25 billion rupee (UDS12.4 million) investment plan to facilitate international traffic at Jaffna airport. The airport continues to be managed by the air force.

Alliance Air said it will be looking at launching scheduled flights in the future. IndiGo Airlines has also been reported as looking at Jaffna airport.

Alliance Air, which is wholly-owned by Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) and operates turboprop flights on behalf of the flag carrier, is also planning to launch services to Batticaloa in the east of Sri Lanka once the airport opens to international traffic.

Currently, the sole international gateway on Sri Lanka is Colombo Int'l. Hambantota lost its only foreign route, to Dubai Int'l (via Colombo Int'l), when flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l) pulled out in June 2018