Sri Lanka to invest tourism funds to upgrade northern Palaly airport
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government will invest almost two billion rupees, more than half from a tourism development fund, to develop the northern Palaly airport to handle civilian traffic in the former war zone, the finance ministry said.
It said the Cabinet of ministers’ approval has been granted to use the northern part of the Palaly runway for handling civil aviation.
The state-run Airports and Aviation Services Ltd. (AASL), which operates the island’s civil airports, will be appointed as the service provider to operate and maintain the Palaly airport and other aeronautical services.
To develop the airport, 1,050 million rupees will be secured from the Tourism Development Fund, while 900 million rupees will be taken from the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, the ministry said in its mid-year fiscal report.
“This new development is expected to enhance the capacity of AASL and thereby increasing its revenue generation,” it said.
The government has said it wants Palaly to be upgraded to a regional airport and to handle international flights, especially to South Indian cities.
It plans to eventually upgrade Palaly to handle medium-sized commercial jets like A320 and B737 type aircraft.