A civilian airline company announced it was resuming passenger flights between Colombo and Jaffna from today although the frequency of the operations will depend on the market availability which was affected after the LTTE launched attacks on the Palaly air base.
Expo airways said operations, which were suspended following hostilities between government troops and the LTTE in the north, will resume from the Ratmalana airport today adding that ticket prices had been revised owing to high fuel costs.
The defence ministry, which has given clearance for the resumption of domestic flights between Colombo and Jaffna, said foreign journalists travelling to Jaffna would have to register with defence officials owing to security reasons.
With the closure of the A9 route as a result of fighting between the LTTE and security forces civilian traffic between Colombo and Jaffna was virtually cut off with sea transport also under LTTE threat after the ICRC refused facilitate such operations until a security assurance is received from both parties to the conflict.
Meanwhile there was commotion in Jaffna on Thursday with black market traders putting out their hidden supplies and selling them for below market prices after a false rumour had spread that the A9 was to be re-opened that day by senior government officials in order to resolve the food crisis in the peninsula.
Hundreds of people stranded in Jaffna and its surrounding areas within the peninsula had got onto the streets with their belongings while others in Vavuniya waiting to reach Jaffna had also made arrangements to cross the A9 on hearing the news.
Tamil newspapers in Jaffna and Colombo were swarmed with telephone calls from residents in Jaffna attempting to verify the news of the A9 opening while traders who expected the transport of supplies to the town to resume put out their hidden stocks in anticipation of fresh supplies.
However as news reached that the opening of the A9 was a false rumour the situation returned to normalcy with food supplies taken off the shelves, prices back above market rates and disappointed civilians returning to their homes.