Aeroflot Airbus A330
Illustrative image. Image Credit: Twitter

Colombo: Russia's Aeroflot has suspended its commercial flights to Colombo after Sri Lankan authorities detained its Airbus A330 jet.

"Aeroflot is suspending commercial flights to Colombo for the immediate period due to an unreliable situation in terms of the airline's unobstructed flights to Sri Lanka. The sales of tickets for flights to Colombo have been temporarily shut down," the statement noted.

Aeroflot passengers located in Colombo with return tickets for June 2, 4 and 5 will be brought to Russia from Sri Lanka on June 4 and 5. Repatriation planes will fly to Colombo without passengers, according to the statement. The company also vowed that those passengers with tickets to Moscow for later dates would also be brought home as scheduled.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Sri Lanka's Airport and Aviation Services issued a statement in which it stated that the flight to Moscow, which was scheduled to take off on June 2, has been restrained due to the absence of a permit from Sri Lanka's aviation authorities.

According to the release, the Commercial High Court noted that the dispute between the Aeroloft-Russian Airlines and Celestial Aviation Trading Limited was purely a matter of a commercial nature which should be dealt with between the said two parties and no involvement of the state was emphasised.

A court hearing to lift the seizure of the aircraft is scheduled for June 8, 2022, according to the statement released by Sri Lanka's Airport and Aviation Services.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Ambassador of Sri Lanka Janitha Abeywickrama Liyanage and had protested in connection with the detention of an Aeroflot plane at the Bandaranaike airport, Daily Mirror reported.

"On June 3, the Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, J.A.Liyanage, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry," the ministry said.

"We called on the Sri Lankan side to resolve this problem in a short time in order to avoid its negative impact on traditionally friendly bilateral relations," the ministry concluded.