Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) to receive Rs. 500 mn facelift
Posted on February 6th, 2020

RAVI LADDUWAHETTY Courtesy The Daily News

The Government will shortly invest Rs. 500 million for the rehabilitation of the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) to bring it back to international standards within six months.

Despite the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa building the Mattala Airport to international standards, the ruination which was taking place during the previous regime was colossal that it will cost around Rs. 500 million, which will also include infrastructure upgrades,” Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd, Retired Major General G.A. Chandrasiri told Daily News Finance .

He also said that Minister of Industrial Exports, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Prasanna Ranatunga was expected to present a Cabinet Memorandum requesting for Rs. 500 million for the upgrade.

He said that for starters, there has to be around 1,000 acres of jungle land which has to be cleared by the Sri Lanka Army and the Sri Lanka Air Force was in the process of rebuilding the outer and inner perimeter fence, he said.

Most of the damage has been created outside of the Mattala Airport while there has been little damage to the interior of the airport where it was used even to store paddy, he explained.

Major General Chandrasiri also said that the upgrade will also include the creation of a massive cargo hub and also a Flying Academy which will also recruit and train both local and international pilots as well.

He said that the previous government had been extremely negligent in the maintenance of the Mattala Airport where there has been considerable damage to the outfield there were holes in the external perimeter wall and wild animals such as deer and wild boar and wild animals could easily penetrate into the airport premises which could pose a severe security and safety threat to the airport and its operations.

The AASL Chief also said that huge space was available for cargo and industrial activities and a host of other operations which the airport could make ideal use of.

All these operations were earmarked during the tenure of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency but totally neglected during the tenure of the Sirisena regime,” he explained.

He said that the Mattala airport was continuing its operations where there were 25 aircraft which landed there in January for refueling and other operations but stressed the need was absolutely necessary for higher operational standards if it was to operate at an international level where there were arrivals and departures of around 25-30 aircraft like the BIA on a daily basis.

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