Discussions on reopening airport Govt. yet to decide: Tourism Minister
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
The Government is yet to take a decision on reopening the country’s international airports after the airports were closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.
He told The Morning that while discussions were ongoing at present, the Government had not taken any decision so far.
Earlier, the reopening of the airports was scheduled for 1 August. The Government planned to reopen the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Hambantota for operations from 1 August to boost the country’s tourism industry.
However, it was further delayed until all Sri Lankans were repatriated.
According to Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (AASL) Ltd. Chairman Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, over 40,000 Sri Lankans are waiting to return to Sri Lanka and as of now, around 12,000 have been repatriated.
According to him, the two airports will be open for operations once the repatriation programme conducted by the Presidential Secretariat is completed.
Accordingly, it was reported that a total of 296 Sri Lankans who were stranded in South Korea and Qatar arrived at the BIA yesterday (25), while a total of 110 Sri Lankans who were stranded in India arrived at the BIA on Monday (24).