Flydubai abandons Mattala International Airport

Flydubai abandons Mattala International Airport

Written by Staff Writer

09 Jun, 2018 | 1:37 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka’s second international airport, the Mattala International Airport, is left without a single scheduled flight from today (June 8) after the only airline using the remote facility scrapped its daily service.

Dubai’s flydubai gave no reason for the pullout from Mattala International Airport, built by the former regime and financed with Chinese loans. The airport is a five-hour, 250-kilometer drive from the capital Colombo and is located inside a wildlife sanctuary and in the middle of a migratory route for birds.

Several aircraft have hit birds since it opened in 2013 and two years ago the military deployed hundreds of troops to clear deer, wild buffalo and elephants off the sprawling facility. The airport which cost an initial $210 million and employs some 550 workers, has failed to generate enough business to pay staff, let alone make a profit.

The Rajapakse administration had offered hefty concessions and initially attracted Air Arabia and flydubai. Air Arabia pulled out after only a few weeks. Even Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines stopped flying to Mattala in 2015 saying the move saved them $18 million annually.

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