Commercial airlines plying to Jaffna have suspended flights in recent weeks after the load factors fell dramatically since the A9 highway to the north is now open, airline industry sources said.
While Deccan Aviation suspended flights from around January, Expo Air has stopped flying since March 12 as passengers had dropped to a trickle on its 50-plus seater planes.
The opening of the A9 highway has seen heavy traffic and special AC buses plying to and from Jaffna at prices ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 (one-way) compared to an air-ticket which costs about Rs 10,000 (one-way).
Sources at Expo said they were looking for a smaller 19-seater aircraft to resume flights, maybe on a reduced schedule as against the daily flights.
Currently Helitours, the commercial arm of the Sri Lanka Airforce, is operating three flights a week to Jaffna and back. Industry sources said the frequency could increase since other two airlines have suspended operations.
On the other hand, industry sources say that the euphoria and excitement of travelling to Jaffna for southerners keen to visit the north, some for the first time, would wear off in time and regular northern travellers may return to travel by air.