Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is set to attract more tourists, as the Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranathunga is planning to introduce tourism packages, along with required steps to achieve this goal.
Special relief packages have already been introduced for flights arriving at Mattala International Airport. The airport has been exempted from export tax for a period of two years, and has also been given a one year concession for landing and parking charges.
The Minister said that in promoting Mattala International Airport as a tourist attraction, special attention has been paid to improve the hotel facilities associated with the airport.
The Government is also working to improve facilities at the Mattala Airport. Arrangements have been made to modernise the existing maintenance building to establish a fully-equipped cargo checkpoint. Cabinet approval has been obtained for this.
Plans are also in place to start aircraft repairs with the aim of providing services to foreign aircraft. In this regard, minor maintenance is expected to take place at the Mattala Airport in the near future. A feasibility study has also been conducted for aircraft maintenance and engine repairs. The Minister also stated that steps are being taken to complete the relevant infrastructure and other facilities.
Air cargo operations are also expected to be expanded at the Mattala Rajapaksa Airport. Accordingly, there are plans to operate six cargo planes per week in the future, said Minister Ranatunga. SriLankan Airlines has already commenced cargo handling services.
About seven aircraft, including three wide aircraft, have been deployed for cargo transport. The Minister further stated that steps are being taken to make Mattala Rajapaksa Airport a more active airport within the next year.