Colombo agrees to fast-track authorization for emergency flights from Male'

Maldivian Transport Minister Mohamed Ameen (R) with Sri Lankan Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva (L).

Sri Lanka has agreed to fast-track authorization for transfer of patients from Male’ to Colombo in medical emergencies.

According to a statement released by the President’s Office on Wednesday, Sri Lanka has agreed to cut down the wait-time for authorization to two hours, instead of the 6-24 hours it currently takes.

The agreement was reached following discussions held between Transport Minister Mohamed Ameen and Sri Lankan government officials during his visit to Colombo from January 29-30.

According to the President’s Office, Sri Lanka has agreed to issue all necessary authorizations for air ambulances and other emergency flights from Male’ to Colombo within two hours.

Emergency flights from Male’ will be accommodated at the Bandaranaike International Airport, located just outside Colombo, according to the office.

In Wednesday’s statement, the President’s Office reiterated President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s commitment to facilitating quality healthcare services from abroad for Maldivian citizens.

It said that the recent arrangement was made with respect to the president’s instructions to improve the speed of the provision of additional healthcare treatment in medical emergencies.

The launch and expansion of air ambulance services was one of President Muizzu’s electoral pledges.

In December, the cabinet decided the service would be launched on March 1.

In addition to the air ambulance service, President Muizzu has also pledged to provide Aasandha coverage in medical facilities outside the South East Asian region, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Thailand.