Rs.30 bn loss due to BIA expansion delay from 2015 | Daily News

Rs.30 bn loss due to BIA expansion delay from 2015

The Yahapalana government had the Katunayaka airport development project halted for five years, causing a loss of revenue amounting to Rs. 30 Bn, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga told Parliament yesterday (7).

“Although the development work of the Katunayake Airport had commenced in 2014, Yahapalana government purposefully delayed it. So Katunayake airport had to suffer losses due to this delay. Rs. 600 million had been spent to the process of removing the lotus bud shaped roof design and give it another shape. The delay of nearly five years has resulted in a loss of around Rs. 30 billion.” Minister Ranatunga observed.

Minister Ranatunaga furthered, “Although we have COVID-19, we resumed the development of the Katunayake airport. We hope to complete it in three years. Mattala should be turned into an active airport as well. Steps are being taken to activate Mattala and to make it the hub for regulating the import and export of air cargo.”

The Minister also said, “We hope to develop Jaffna and Batticaloa airports and integrate them with domestic aviation and tourism. The country has incurred a loss of Rs. 2.4 billion in the last 10 months due to improper operation of airports due to the pandemic.”

He said that a master plan has been drawn up to develop the Ratmalana Airport and in addition, plans are also made to develop the Jaffna and Batticaloa airports.

“It is a well known fact that the previous government opened the Jaffna airport in a hurry without ensuring the basic facilities required. We had a issue regarding this matter during discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister. The previous government had gone beyond the agreement and had done things according to their political and other requirements. Therefore, we now have to re-do the agreement and implement it. Our plan is to connect the domestic airports and implement a domestic air service, but this is a huge expense,” the Minister said.