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Blue sky thinking

Article - February 6, 2012
Plans to expand Sri Lanka's airports will boost business, infrastructure and tourism
Sri Lanka’s convenient location has contributed to the nation’s high potential for becoming a prominent aviation hub. Hitherto this potential has not been exploited, but recent plans signal the development of Sri Lanka’s airports sector by setting into motion the construction of a second international airport at Mattala, Hambantota.

Also, Bandaranaike International Airport will be revamped in order to cater further to Sri Lanka’s global connectivity. These actions will contribute to a variety of investment opportunities, ranging from relationships forged with various courier companies, such as DHL, Fedex and UPS; and aviation-related industries, such as flying academies and aviation repair centers, a tax-free shopping mall connected to the airport, and a 300-room transit hotel nearby, to name but a few potential investments.

Regarding additional plans for Sri Lanka’s development as a prime aviation center, Prasanna J. Wickramasuriya, Chairman of the Airports and Aviation Services Limited, says: “Another thing we are doing is developing an expressway, a toll road, which will go from the airport to Colombo city. It will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2012 and it will reduce the trip to the city to about 22 minutes.”

Mr. Wickramasuriya continues: “The port is 20 miles away from the airport so it is going to be a commercial sea and air transshipment park. There will be industrial parks and international warehousing complexes as well as leisure and aviation-related industries in that area. Furthermore, the road is going to be connected to the eastern province as well. The southern highway will be extended to the eastern province, which will contribute very much to its social development. Besides this, the best beaches are located there, so I believe that the tourism industry will also really develop.”