Free Landing At Mahinda’s Airport

  • $ 200 million dollar investment is a white elephant

By Indika Sri Aravinda

In an attempt to woo international passenger airlines to the new Mattala international airport, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to grant free landing and parking for the airlines during the first year of operations.
The Mattala international airport is scheduled to be opened on November 18 this year, the day the President celebrates his birthday and third anniversary since he took office for the second term. The original deadline was June 2013 but the government has ordered the Chinese construction company to complete construction in time for the President to open it on his birthday.
When The Sunday Leader contacted the Deputy Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Kamal Ratwatte, he confirmed that four international airlines have already agreed to land at the Mattala airport once it opens.
Emirates, Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai and Japan Airlines have confirmed or are in negotiations to land their flights at the new airport.
He said that these airlines will be given free landing and parking for the first year while SriLankan Airlines will offer 50 percent off on handling fees.
The new airport will have facilities for 10 international passenger airlines and the government hopes to record 1 million passengers during the first year and 6 million during the second year of operations.
Ratwatte said that the total cost for the construction of the new airport was approximately US Dollars 209 million.
A new five star hotel is also to be constructed near the airport to cater to the passengers and will be operated by a Malaysian company.
The airport is being constructed on 800 hectares of land under the first phase of the project.
The main terminal building, under construction will have facilities for 1000 passengers at peak time. It will be able to handle one million passengers annually.
Meanwhile when contacted by The Sunday Leader Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said that the Katunayake airport will not be closed at any cost as a result of the opening of the new airport.
Environmentalists meanwhile said that the airport was  constructed causing serious violations to environmental laws. Coordinator of the Green Movement, Banduranga Kariyawasam said that the airport is constructed blocking an elephant path way.

36 Comments for “Free Landing At Mahinda’s Airport”

  1. How about free transport for the passengers from airport to home?

  2. Booru Bandu

    A mad project like the commonwealth games bid .Remember the conga line tamasha? .Bound to be doomed from the start.

  3. Ron

    Ammage Appage Sallie the.

  4. td


  5. Mrs Sembakuttiarachchi

    Who cares about elephpants as long as I can celebrate my birthday ha! what a joke Mahinda did you know that they are looking for good clowns for the Ringling Brothers Circus and I am sure they would love to hire you.

  6. Peter Australia

    When I come to Sri Lankan I stay with my relations in Negombo. It would now mean that I will have choose an Airline that lands at Katunayake and not at Hambantotata, as I will have to pay for overnight stay at an 5 star Hotel and then hire a car to get to Colombo or take a connecting flight with my luggage to Colombo. What a balls up get to have His name on a Airport when it would be cheaper to put his name board on a Bull cart./

  7. Kornelius John

    Wild Elephant pathway blocked to guarantee invasion by White Elephant!

  8. nimba

    Rajapaksa famil is willing to kneel down and beg internation air line operators to land at this new airport which was buily by the notorious war criminal Mahinda.

  9. Against Idiots

    What can you expect when you permit brain-storms of Space Cadets to become airports?

    Apart from being a bunch of violent thugs, these are village idiots, to say the least and any nation that hands them the levers of power deserves what is in store for them. The rest of us with a brain or two will have to suffer for the venal stupidity as well, unfortunately!

  10. Garawi

    Stupid move! Emirates will lose customers!

  11. Kiri Gamarala

    Having an Air strip for emergency landing is good but free landing at Air port is going to hit those who are permanently landed already with no prospects of flying at all.

  12. Koala

    What a joke. SL is run by a damn goose with no brains. A laughing stock.

  13. Shamila Tandy

    All paid for by the Sri Lankan poor who will never ever be able to afford an air ticket under the Rajakaske family in charge of this country. What a sham !! Airlines.


  14. Reality

    Free parking in the 190 Million Dollar Airport.
    Free docking in the 360 Million Dollar Seaport.
    Gentlemen Welcome to Free Lanka.

  15. Meena M.

    Errors in judgement, expensive mistakes, and costly egos.

  16. seruvila senarath


  17. Gamini Lindagedera

    I don’t understand why our people are so negative and pessimistic about every thing in this country! This article has already condemned the new Maththala Airport, labelled it ‘Mahinda Airport’ which itself is highly uncalled for and insult.

    Are you suggesting we should continue to live only with KIA, which is currently reeling under the the load it has to handle? Should we not build more, at least one for now? Should that be only in Colombo or western region? Aren’t there environmental issues having KIA where it is?

    Southern province has a greater potential in many respect for growth; tourism, industry, Trade and Shipping, being in the vicinity of closer to one of the the world’s busiest shipping routes.

    We are currently suffering due to lack of logistics and infrastructure in the country such as Roads, Railways, waterways, power generation etc, which negate the progress. These must have been done government of the past, regardless of which party they belonged to. Some of our leaders from both main parties have carried out very sensible schemes of National importance but they were not sufficient, hence the suffering of our people today. Lets not leave our future generations to suffer due lack of foresight and decisiveness.

  18. Nimal

    This is a difficult place to get to.This is an ill thought of project and waste of money.My suggestion is to use the harbour for an international container port,in collaboration with Singapore and store the containers,even have factories built in that airport.I would not go there to catch my plane as it takes exhausting 12 hours to get there,while it take only 2 and a half hours to Katunayake.
    Our history was filled with extravagances at the expense of the people and this no difference.No public disscussion at all over these projects.This is not democracy.

  19. Kosala

    Hello Kornelius, you must be a supporter of the bankrupt Ranil and his useless drunkards; MR has saved the country for you to live, when Ranil was a fully fledged Colombo based LTTE sympathizer whose breakfast is still arrack and other dirty stuff. Don’t make empty comments, wait till the airport is up and running, building an airport is not an easy thing, be a good Sri Lankan and support its progress.

  20. Lankawick

    Mattala Airport is still under construction….and screams of “White Elephant”…from the usual ” Naysayers”….who oppose anything positive in SL…

    The same comments were audible for …
    Singapore Airport…”small island…small population”…
    Dubai…”desert…no people”..
    Takes time…a decade or more…
    Look at Singapore & Dubai airports now…
    Hubs for Worldwide inter connecting flights & passengers…
    among the best in the world…

    Give Mattala airport time to consolidate…
    it will be successfulll…

    BTW…budget airlines…also showing an interest…
    in landing at Mattala in the future are….Air Asia & Tiger Airlines.

    • Against Idiots

      Are you serious in comparing Dubai and Singapore with Mattala/ Now we’ve hear it all in the matter of sycophancy.

  21. LIMA


  22. Soothsayer

    News article,”Airplane collides with an elephant”. First time ever incident. Sri Lanka is quite reknown for such firsts!!

  23. mohamed

    this another blow to nations Sri lanka wast of money in the future these leaders want to built air port for there name this is real joke

  24. hansan

    Before we talk get the International Insurance co. to approve as they don’t care about the free landing. They will have to see if the Air lines are safe and the Passengers safty. As they already know how these places were Built and managed. As it’s all Made in China.

  25. Observator

    Making an Airport is not wasting money but if Airport is not up to the international safety standerds, even give free “Toilet Facilities” Air Liners never land and only for 10% guy may get rich, then it will be another foolish investment similer to “Harbour On the Rock” and “Mihin Air Lines” . Best thing is to get advice of experts not “Chinese”.

  26. Carolis

    The airport was needed. The location is a disaster. It will be the reason why this becomes a white elephant. Of all the possible locations this one is the worst. What passengers will care to use an airport in the middle of nowhere!

  27. Royalist

    Another first for Sri Lanka… open the apron and lift the sarong too!

  28. Gotta the hero

    I will bet you anyday, 10% or 20 Millions went to the Rajapakses pocket

  29. hansan

    Hambantota Harbour, Hambantota Beach sports, Hambamtota Tourist attractions Hambantota Air port, Hambantota Hotel, Fater Mother, sons and Brothers Umbalata Pissuda Yokoo? Apita Hambantota Kanne deyak Nathoo Yakoo.

  30. Mida

    this kind of developments are becoming very simple in srilanka bcz all are settling with high range commission with “if ” conditions

    IF you give this much commission you will be get this much projects

    what a joke

    Miracle of Srilanka and wonder of Asia

  31. The actual completion date for the mattala airport is June 2013. But to commemorate with president’s birthday it has been advanced to November 2012. In most cases the actual opening date becomes delay due to many reasons. Here by pushing forward, what type of quality work can one expect? …just to celebrate president’s birthday. I hope this will not be another norochchalai coal plant blunder. What a colossal money to waste for a whole year giving free landing. Also the inconvenience for most of the passengers who wants to travel to colombo, when everybody trying to save patrol and time.

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