SriLankan clarifies temporary suspension of Shanghai service
August 14, 2020 08:50 pm
SriLankan Airlines has clarified its position with regards to the temporary suspension of the Colombo-Shanghai operation by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for a period of four weeks.
In a media release issued today (14), the national carrier said it has operated a charter flight with 223 Chinese national onboard from Dubai to Shanghai via Colombo on the 7th of August 2020. Prior to this flight SriLankan operated two similar flights from Dubai to Shanghai with zero COVID-19 positive cases.
For the charter flight on 7th August, the charter operator insisted all passengers to take the PCR test for COVID-19 from the local professional testing facilities which is also used by other prominent international airlines and carried out PCR tests on each of the 223 passengers, the release read.
“This testing process was carried out 72 hours prior to boarding the flight and all passengers boarded the flight with negative test results shown at the time of operation of the special charter flight. These tests were carried out as a pro-active safety measure for the passengers and the crew at a time the PCR test was not considered as a mandatory requirement for China-bound flight out of Dubai,” the SriLankan Airlines explained.
Despite these measures taken, 25 passengers who were in this charter flight were found positive for COVID-19 upon their arrival in China, the national carrier said further.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Civil Aviation Authorities in China (CAAC) had introduced a new policy referred as the ”Five-One” policy, which restricts an airline to operate to one point to China per week. In line with this new policy, SriLankan Airlines had engaged in operating 15 such charter flights repatriating over 3,000 Chinese passengers from United Kingdom and Dubai to China without any incidents.
As per the CAAC policy, temporary flight suspensions are given to airlines, if only more than five COVID-19 positive cases are found on a flight. The particular special charter flight operated on the 7th of August had 23 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19. “Thus, CAAC temporarily suspended SriLankan Airlines for four weeks as per the new regulations in place,” the national carrier clarified.
SriLankan Cargo operation remains unaffected and will continue to fly to China when required, the release read further.