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“Reduce aviation taxes, upgrade domestic airports”

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To kick start lanka’s domestic aviation industry

Sri Lanka should urgently reduce the domestic aviation taxes which were imposed before the recent budget and upgrade the domestic airports to kick start the local domestic aviation industry, said President Chamber of Tourism and Industry, Sri Lanka. A.M. Jaufer (pictured).

There are 26 airlines operating in Sri Lanka and there are 18 domestic air services in the country providing domestic flying by five institutions with flying craft and three with helicopters. All other craft are also used for flying training. Sri Lanka has 16 international and domestic airports (Ratmalana, Katunayake, Mattala, Jaffna, Weerawila, Batticaloa, Koggala, Sigiriya, Ampara Uhana, China Bay in Trincomalee, Hingurakgoda, Mullaitivu, Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Iranamadu and Katukurunda).

“However of these airports only Jaffna, Ratmalana, Katunayake and Mattala airports have been upgraded to the level of international airports. Due to the inability to provide infrastructure facilities for most of these airports, the entire tourism sector is affected.”

He said that one of the main reasons for Arugam Bay not to pick up in tourism was the transport factor as it takes over six hours to get there. “We have been lobbying to activate the Batticaloa airport for many years but this proposal is cold shouldered.” He said that one cannot blame the local domestic aviation operators since they find it very difficult to operate due to high taxes which were there for the past decade.

The Tourism Industry is on the threshold of reawakening after the recent experiences of all air services coming to a standstill following the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Currently the Katunayake International Airport receives up to 63 flights per day and if there is domestic connection the tourist hotels far away from the city could benefit.

He urged the government to upgrade the domestic airports at Sigiriya, Koggala, China Bay and Batticaloa to the level of tourist airports urgently. And Mattala Airport can cater to fuel supply as well as checking on technical aspects of International Airports (MRO) and thereby could earn foreign exchange to the country.

“If a flight is landed during a week day and delayed for a week, it has to pay only 50% of the charge to MRIA which is a praiseworthy service.”

Jaffna International Airport (JIA) needs to be upgraded and maintained as a fully-fledged International Airport. Around 4,400 passengers had used that Airport during the four-month period from November, 2019 to February, 2020.

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 – 01:00











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