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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka airport moves to tackle congestion as tourists return

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main airport is moving to tackle congestion by increasing service counters as tourist arrivals pick up in 2023, and construction of a Japanese funded second terminal is suspended after the country defaulted external debt.

“With the dawn tourist season, the number of tourists arriving in Sri Lanka is increasing, creating possible passenger congestion, especially at the arrival terminal of the Katunayake airport,” a statement from the Airport and Aviation Services said.

“To mitigate the issue, the airport management has worked to provide maximum facilities by managing the available space in the terminal and the airport.”

Immigration and emigration counters have been increased to 25 and two new counters for visa on arrivals had been set up. More space had also been allocated for customs operations.

Sri Lanka started construction of a second terminal as the Bandaranaike International Airport was operating beyond its capacity. Due to the Covid pandemic and economic crisis, passenger numbers fell, reducing congestion.

Visa scan machines will be installed by next year and more use will be made of technology to speed up operations, the Airport and Aviation Services said.

A duty free shopping complex had been given more space.

Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who made an inspection visit to the airport said efforts are being made to re-start construction of a Japanese funded second terminal.

All Japanese loan funded projects were suspended last year after Sri Lanka defaulted on its foreign debt in 2022. Japan only give humanitarian grant aid to countries whose debt has been deemed unstainable.

Sri Lanka has now reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund all major creditors have agreed to re-structure debt.

“After reaching successful agreements with the IMF, the international community has now recognized us an able economy,” Minister de Silva was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Therefore, we hope to re-establish discussions with the Japanese Government for aid to start constructions of the second terminal.”

Sri Lanka is expecting to finalize debt re-structuring in around six months. (Colombo/Apr04/2023)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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