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Flydubai suspends flights to Sri Lanka as Emirates, Etihad keep flying

Sri Lanka is experiencing mass unrest over its deteriorating economic situation.
An army cadet looks through the window of a bus parked outside Sri Lanka's presidential palace in Colombo.

The Emirati airline flydubai has suspended flights to Sri Lanka’s capital amid the unrest there. 

“Flydubai flights between Dubai and Colombo Airport (CMB) have been suspended from 10 July until further notice,” a spokesperson told Al-Monitor. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground in Sri Lanka.”

What happened: Sri Lanka is in the midst of a crisis. As in other parts of the world, inflation is rising substantially, with food and fuel prices being especially affected. There are also medicine shortages and electricity cuts. Moreover, there is not enough fuel for buses, ambulances and other essential services to operate. Sri Lanka is also nearly out of foreign currency reserves, according to the BBC

Protesters stormed the presidential palace Saturday, leading President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign

Why it matters: Sri Lanka is a popular international tourist destination. Other Gulf airlines have not yet suspended flights to the embattled country. The Dubai-based Emirates is also continuing to operate flights to Colombo, at least for now. 

"Emirates passenger services between Dubai to Colombo currently operate as usual. We continue to closely monitor the situation on ground," a spokesperson told Al-Monitor. 

A spokesperson for the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways told Reuters that they are monitoring the situation in the country. 

Qatar Airways’ website showed bookings available to Colombo for the week of July 18. Spokespeople for the Doha-based airline did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment. 

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are major international transit hubs. 

Know more: The crisis in Sri Lanka is not that different from the economic situation in the Middle East. Inflation is also rising across the region. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen are also experiencing severe food insecurity, as are other areas. 

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