Sri Lanka's government has approved a Ministry of Tourism proposal waiving all landing and aircraft parking fees at the country's three international airports - Colombo Int'l, Colombo Ratmalana, and Hambantota - for a period of nearly eleven months.

During a cabinet meeting on December 21, 2020, the government agreed to implement the waiver from December 26, when limited international scheduled traffic was due to have returned to the island, through November 19, 2021.

Although the government had cancelled several charter flights from Russia scheduled for December 27 citing a new wave of infections in the UK and elsewhere, it reversed its decision a day later when a chartered SkyUp Airlines (PQ, Kyiv Boryspil) B737-800 arrived in Hambantota from Kyiv Boryspil.

Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka (AASL) Deputy Chairman Rajiv Sooriyaarachchi told The Sunday Morning newspaper that after this group of 185 tourists arrived, they all underwent quarantine procedures.

This latest Cabinet decision extends a previous waiver implemented in September 2020, which did not affect market conditions due to the ban on international services.

As it stands, under a pilot phase that runs through January 19, Sri Lanka requires all flights to obtain prior individual approval before departure. All arriving tourists will have to test negatively for COVID prior to the departure and will then be tested again upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Their stay has to be limited to designated hotels.

Sri Lanka has been closed to scheduled international passenger flights since March 2020. Besides the three airports covered by the newest waiver, Batticaloa and Jaffna are also certified to accept international flights.