Ratmalana Airport is set to launch international flights in the region after 5 decades and the first flight is scheduled to depart for the Maldives next month, the Tourism Ministry said.

After lengthy discussions with the Maldivian Airlines, they have agreed to resume flights from Ratmalana.

Initially, aircraft which can carry 50 passengers will be the first to fly between Colombo and the Maldives.

Ratmalana International Airport was established in 1938 and regional international flights were suspended due to the commencement of flights from Katunayake International Airport in 1968.

It is planned to launch new regional international flights using the resources available at the Ratmalana Airport, the Ministry said.

The Ratmalana Airport to be developed as a regional international airport centered on India and the Maldives.

The Ministry said that the government has recently taken steps to remove aircraft parking and parking charges for one year for the promotion of international flights at Ratmalana Airport and to suspend the airport service tax levied on passengers for one year.