Four parties take bid documents for Sri Lanka’s Mattala airport

ECONOMYNEXT – Four parties have taken bid documents to invest in and manage Sri Lanka’s second international airport in Mattala in the South of the island, Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.

The airport which was built in the middle of a shrub jungle displacing elephants and migrant birds, draws hardly any traffic.

The airport comes with all freedoms of the air, indicating that a foreign airline could be based at the airport and operate to any third country without touching down in the home country, or operate between two or more domestic airports.

Minister de Silva said Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services Ltd, had to spend 2.5 billion rupees a year to repay the debt taken from China to build the airport.

"At the moment we are using profits made from Colombo airport to service the loan," he said.

Four parties have taken bid documents so far he said. Reports said IZP, a Chinese firm was among those interested, but de Silva declined to name any parties.

"The airport would be useful as a freight hub, or for aircraft maintenance," he said. "If someone agrees to service the debt, we will hand over the operations of the airport to them."

He said it was too early to say whether a subsidiary will be incorporated to take-over the assets and liabilities prior to handing over to a prospective investor. (Colombo/July28/2016)

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