Direct Varanasi-Colombo Air India flight flagged off | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Direct Varanasi-Colombo Air India flight flagged off

Chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), Air India (AI), Ashwini Lohani and airport director Anil Kumar Rai flagged off the flight.

lucknow Updated: Aug 05, 2017 14:42 IST
HT Correspondent
With 101 passengers on-board, first direct flight between Varanasi and Colombo took off from Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi.
With 101 passengers on-board, first direct flight between Varanasi and Colombo took off from Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi.(HT Photo)

With 101 passengers onboard, first direct flight between Varanasi and Colombo took off from Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport here on Friday. Chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), Air India (AI), Ashwini Lohani and airport director Anil Kumar Rai flagged off the flight.

“Now, Varanasi has a direct flight to Colombo. The direct air connectivity between the two cities will strengthen relationship between India and Sri Lanka further. As many as 101 passengers were onboard when we flagged off the flight,” Rai told HT.

He expressed his joy for fulfilling the promise Prime Minister Narendra Modi made during his last visit to Sri Lanka in May this year. Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of Modi who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from here.

Rai said the flight will increase tourism in Varanasi Buddhist circuit—Varanasi (Sarnath), Kushinagar, Piparva (Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Sankisa), Bodhgaya (Nalanda, Rajgir, Barabar caves, Pragbodhi Hill, Gaya), Patna (Vaishali, Lauriya Nandangarh, Lauriya Areraj, Kesariya, Patna Museum).

Brand new Air Bus 320 neo has been deployed in this route. The flight is biweekly on Fridays and Sundays. The air bus has 180 seats. All seats are economy. The flight departed from Varanasi at 12.35pm and reached Colombo at 15.20pm. The returning flight landed at 8.20pm with 175 passengers onboard.

“This is a great moment as the national carrier Air India today connected two historical destinations that are oldest living cities Varanasi and Colombo,” Lohani said after flagging off the inaugural flight.