ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run national carrier SriLankan Airlines will start operating flights from Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) for the first time with a scheduled one flight a week to Male, Maldives, and a domestic flight from Colombo to Mattala from October 14, an official said.
“SriLankan Airlines does not have any scheduled operations at MRIA at the moment,” Shehan Sumanasekara, Director-Chief Operations (all airports) at Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) told EconomyNext.
“This once a week operation will gradually be increased to twice a week in the extensive plan of developing Mattala. This is one step of many.”
Sumanasekara said going forward, a few more scheduled flights will be operational from Mattala.
The new move comes after Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga early this week announced a raft of special concessions for international airlines when operating from the Mattala airport.
The concession includes a 60 US dollar exemption from the airport emigration charge for two years for international airlines which have not operated flights to Mattala airport so far, and discounts on landing and parking charges for four years including one year in at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) as well.
The government is expected to open the country fully for tourism in November, officials have said.
The local carrier is expected to play a vital role in tourism revival.
“We will start a domestic link for local passengers to reach Mattala by air too along with the same scheduled flight to Male,” Sumanasekara added.
“We will promote it in two modes. One is to use it as a scenic tour line and the other to make it easier for local investors to visit Mattala and explore the city for any investment opportunities with ease. But our focus is on domestic scenic tours and foreigners in the country are always welcome to use it,” he said. (Colombo/Sep22/2021)