Mattala international airport transforms into a multipurpose business center
Mattala international airport on the southern coast is to transform into a multipurpose business center by implementing business opportunities related to air and non-air operations, official sources divulged.
This airport had the potential to be converted into a business center for foreign investors and therefore measures would be taken to effectively utilize the international airport facilities and assets to create private and public partnership investment opportunities, Government spokesman minister Bandula Gunawardena said.
A proposal by Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva to call for expressions of interest from investors in aviation-related enterprises was approved by the cabinet, he added.
The Sri Lankan government has offered a number of concessions for flights willing to land at Mattala and the airport resumed international flight operation last month after a lapse of two years.
The airport is built to carry out air cargo operations and is equipped with a store complex, special technological equipment, including two sophisticated scanners.
Thus, it has the ability to attract cargo companies by promoting these services and offering reduced tax.
Apart from that, establishing training centers related to the aircraft and aviation industry – flying schools, aviation services schools and aircraft maintenance and repair workshops – in the close vicinity can help attract more stakeholders in to the airport.
The focus is on taking measures to effectively utilize Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport facilities and assets by creating public-private-partnership (PPP) investment opportunities,” Minister Bandula Gunawardena said yesterday.
Following the post-war development agenda of making the country a hub in the Indian Ocean Region, Hambantota was planned as an air and marine exchange operation center.
The development of the MIA fitted into this plan. Given the preferable climatic and meteorological conditions, and basic facilities in conformity with international standards, it was expected to be a success with an increased cargo handling, passenger arrivals and air traffic operations, a feasibility study report revealed.
The MIA also expected to play a significant role in the development of the eastern and southern coastlines of the island with a plan of building an investment center in Hambantota.
It was also expected to facilitate the creation of economic and investment opportunities in the island.
The development of industries and businesses in the area is important to attract people who will use the airport as their transport link. In this regard, increasing the production of products to be exported through the MIA should be given adequate attention.
This requires additional investment to provide resources, consultation and training for small and medium enterprises.
According to the Tourism Board of Sri Lanka, every year, a significant number of tourists visit cultural sites and nature parks in close proximity to the Mattala Airport