Sri Lanka’s second international airport which has seen very flew planes from the time it was launched, is now being considered as a storage facility for paddy.
The Paddy Marketing Board said that a storage facility at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) is being considered as an option to store paddy harvest from the Maha season.
Paddy Marketing Board Chairman M.D. Dissanayake told the Colombo Gazette that the MRIA is not being taken by force as claimed by some, but is being looked only as an option to store paddy.
“We look at several options and we have stored paddy at several locations and we heard that there is a storage facility at the airport which is not being used so we are looking at the option to use that to store paddy from the Maha season,” he said.
Dissanayake however said that a final decision has not been taken on using MRIA and documents have also not been signed.
“All this is still at a discussion stage. Nothing has been finalized. It is being looked at as an option,” he said.
The new international airport built under the Mahianda Rajapaksa regime, was expected to expand the local aviation industry whilst being a catalyst for the country’s economic development enabling international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment. It was being implemented as an eco-friendly project.
The airport cost an estimated US$210 million and was built to be compatible with the latest Airbus A380 aircraft. Air Arabia, Rotana Jet, Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Air flew to Mattala at various times, but all cancelled service for commercial reasons. (Colombo Gazette)