EOI to run Mattala Airport next month | Daily News

EOI to run Mattala Airport next month

The Government will call for expressions of interest (EOI) for the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) next month. The Airport and Aviation Services Limited (AASL) is awaiting cabinet approval for this.

The declining of aircraft, passenger and cargo movements have prompted the government to look at an EOI in a bid to cushion some of the financial burden.

The airport which was opened in 2013 saw US$ 209 million spent on the project, with $190 million provided by the Chinese government via the Exim Bank of China. Construction of phase one began on November 27,2009.By the end of February 2012, the construction of the runway, apron and taxiways was completed ahead of schedule.

Currently Airport and Aviation Services (AASL) is making loan repayments of 2.5 billion rupees a year for this Chinese built and financed airport.

“We hope to attract several local and foreign companies to invest in the large 400 hectares in the investment promotion area.They can use this space for ware housing, transshipment and and even for refuelling,” and AASLofficial said.

“Opportunities will also be given for flying schools and maintenance services to operate from the airport.”

“When these infrastructure is added it would attract both cargo and passenger airlines. With several five star hotels like Amanwella Tangalle, Shangri La Hambantota and Anantara Tangalle in the area we will also see several charter flights patronizing the airport in the future.”

Mattala handled 2,379 passengers in 2015 down from 20,474 a year earlier. Only 986 passengers used the MRIA last year.The total cargo handled was 1.2 metric tonnes, down from 68.9 metric tonnes a year earlier.

“One of the main reasons for this decline is the decision to cancel SriLankan flights to and via Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport, Mattala from February 9, 2015.”

They were flying to Middle East, China and Bangkok with a stopover in Mattala.

The troubled Mattala Airport received another blow with the complete closure of the duty free shops located within its premises since June 1. 

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