- More measures to make Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) an active airport.
- 32,957 passenger operations and 722 flight operations at MRIA last year.
- 2919 tourist arrivals at Mattala this year.
Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga stated that the measures taken by the government to transform the MRIA into an active airport will be further expanded this year. The Minister pointed out that discussions are going on with several worlds’ leading airlines to operate international flights at MRIA. "These airlines would commence international operations at Mattala Airport this year.", the Minister stated.
There were 32,957 passenger operations at MRIA in the last year. The number of flights operated is recorded as 722 and out of that, 584 are international aircraft operations. According to the Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga, there have been 138 domestic flights at MRIA during the past year. According to the records of MRIA, 2919 tourists have arrived in the Island from 1st January to 3rd February this year. The MRIA was inaugurated on March 18, 2013. In that year, there were 36,137 passenger operations and 1,520 flight operations. In 2014, there were 40,386 passenger operations at Mattala International Airport. The number of flights operated during that year was 2924.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga pointed out that with the coming to power of the Yahapalana Government in 2015, the operations of the MRIA were disrupted and the Yahapalana Government also stored paddy there. The MRIA was not promoted during the period of the Yahapalana Government and the previous government also took steps to make it inactive; the Minister further explained.
After H.E. the President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa came to power in November 2019, the government promoted the airport as a "tourist destination". In addition, the airport charges of MRIA have been waived off to attract international airlines. The Minister also stated that steps have been taken to attract airlines to the MRIA, holding discussions with international airlines. As a result, international airlines such as Skype, Gulliver, Uzbekistan, Qatar Air Asia, Maldives Airlines, and Salam Air are currently operating to the MRIA.
In addition, the government has paid special attention to the development of MRIA. Accordingly, two duty-free shops of core category, a tea stall, two shops of electronic appliances, a service counter for tourists, telephone boxes, and bank counters have been established. The Minister further stated that with the increase in flight operations in the future, the facilities will be further expanded.