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Mattala Airport to be developed as a cargo hub: Prasanna Ranatunga

Mattala International Airport is expected to be developed as an airport for tourists as well as a cargo hub, said Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.

He emphasized the need to build an export processing zone, an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and a duty-free shopping complex at the airport.

The Minister was responding to a question raised by Parliamentarian Hesha Vithanage (07) seeking an oral answer in Parliament. It inquired about the construction of the Mattala International Airport and its future activities.

“It is planned to resume operations at the duty free shopping complex and to upgrade the facilities at the cargo terminal to further develop the Mattala Airport,” the Minister said.

The Minister said that the necessary infrastructure is being developed to make the commercial airport attractive and plans are afoot to set up an MRO facility.

He also stated that the previous government had brought disrepute to the airport by using it as a paddy storage facility.

The Minister further noted that although it was planned to make Mattala Airport an active airport after the current government came to power, it was difficult to achieve those goals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.