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Air India, IndiGo Waive Cancellation Fees for Passengers Flying To and Fro Colombo

According to Sri Lankan police, the multiple blasts on Easter Sunday so far claimed 207 lives while more than 450 others were wounded

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A shoe of a victim is seen in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2019. VOA

In wake of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday, Air India and IndiGo have announced a total waiver of cancellation and rescheduling charges for passengers flying to and from Colombo till April 24.

“In view of the situation in #Srilanka #AirIndia has waived off all charges for rescheduling/cancellation of bookings on its flts to/from Colombo for travel till April 24, 2019,” the national carrier said in a tweet.

It further requested the passengers to report “well in advance” to clear security at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo.

srilanka, colombo, air india, indigo
“In view of the situation in #Srilanka #AirIndia has waived off all charges for rescheduling/cancellation of bookings on its flts to/from Colombo for travel till April 24, 2019,” the national carrier said in a tweet. Pixabay

IndiGo tweeted: “In light of the recent events in Colombo, we are providing full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all flights to/from Colombo for travel scheduled till April 24, 2019. Our prayers are with the affected.”

ALSO READ: Attack on Three Churches, Luxury Hotels in SriLanka on Easter

According to Sri Lankan police, the multiple blasts on Easter Sunday so far claimed 207 lives while more than 450 others were wounded. Altogether eight explosions have ripped through the country, with six blasts hitting in the morning and two in the afternoon. A curfew has been imposed until 6 a.m. on Monday. (VOA)

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Sri Lanka to Reduce Airline Charges to Help Tourism Industry

The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion

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srilanka, tourism
Buddhist monks take part in a prayer ceremony at a buddhist temple for the victims, three days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 24, 2019. VOA

Sri Lanka’s government announced Tuesday it will reduce ground handling charges for airlines and slash aviation fuel prices and embarkation fees to help the country’s vital tourism industry recover after Easter suicide bombings killed more than 250 people.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said the decision will lead to an increase in flights to Sri Lanka and a reduction in ticket prices, which will attract more tourists to the Indian Ocean island nation, famed for its pristine beaches.

Seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group, National Thowheed Jammath, attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21, killing 258 people, including 45 foreigners mainly from China, India, the U.S. and Britain. Tourist arrivals declined 57% in June from a year earlier, dealing a severe blow to the tourism industry, the country’s third-largest foreign currency earner after remittances from overseas workers and textile and garment exports.

sri lanka, tourism
Kandy Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka. Wikimedia Commons

The cuts in charges and fees will be in place for six months, said Johanne Jayaratne, head of the government’s tourism development agency. About 2.3 million tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2018, when 29 airlines offered 300 flights per week. After the April 21 attacks, 41 fights per week were canceled, amounting to a loss of 8,000 passenger seats. Several airlines have reinstated their normal schedules since then, but others have not.

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Dimuthu Tennakoon, chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives, said the government decision will encourage airlines to increase their capacity and offer attractive fares.
“That will definitely happen with this reduction because fuel and ground handling contribute a significant percentage of the total cost element of any airline,” he said.

Tourism accounts for 4.9% of Sri Lanka’s GDP. Around half a million Sri Lankans depend directly on tourism and 2 million indirectly. The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion. (VOA)