Five potential investors for Sri Lanka’s Mattala Airport
The Morning: The Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka (AASL) has received bids from five potential investors interested in the possible Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment opportunities at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and is currently evaluating the proposals.
Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, AASL Chairman Major General (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri revealed that after calling for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) earlier this year, the AASL had received EOIs from 19 local and international investors. Thereafter, five successful bids had been received following a bidding process.
He stated: “The technical proposals of the five bidders are currently being evaluated by the technical evaluation committee. We will most likely select an investor from among them.”
Responding to a query by The Sunday Morning Business regarding the current extent of operations at the MRIA, Chandrasiri conceded that currently only one airline was flying to the MRIA – the Russian Red Wings Airlines, which commenced scheduled charter flight operations to the MRIA from end-2022.
He revealed that there were no agreements in the pipeline for any other airlines to commence flight operations to the MRIA.
On 8 January, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the proposal presented by Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva calling for EOIs from investors interested in engaging in business activities using the facilities at the MRIA.
Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business previously, Chandrasiri disclosed that proposals had been received from investors who had expressed interest in establishing an aircraft dismantling business and a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the MRIA.
AASL’s main objective is to leverage the facilities and assets of the Mattala Airport to create PPP investment opportunities. These opportunities aim to attract investors and entrepreneurs involved in both direct and indirect aviation-related ventures, thereby facilitating aeronautical and non-aeronautical businesses at the airport.
Since its inception, the MRIA has been plagued by controversy and allegations of corruption. These controversies relating to the construction of the MRIA and its subsequent failure to generate revenue have resulted in it being labelled a white elephant which is an unnecessary burden on the State coffers. Consequently, groups within the present and the previous regime have actively pushed for the privatization of the MRIA.
The interest shown by investors to invest in Sri Lanka’s Mattala Airport in the south is indicative of the overall expansion in the country’s airport and aviation industry. The steady growth in tourist arrivals to the country and the overall expansion in economic activities in Sri Lanka have resulted in an increase in the number of flights operated to the country by international airlines. This in turn has resulted in the expansion in business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s airport and aviation industry. With Sri Lanka working towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region and looking at developing the country’s airport network to improve internal and external connectivity, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the growing opportunities in the airport and aviation industry. Foreign businesses could also look at developing the supplementary infrastructure facilities required by the industry to meet the growing demand.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/20230828/Z_4|