Friday, May 17, 2024

India-Russia Firms to Jointly Manage Sri Lanka's Hambantota – N.F Times

New Delhi: Sri Lanka’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota has been allotted to a joint venture between an Indian and a Russian firm, as per government spokesman on Friday.

A joint venture between Shaurya Aeronautics (Pvt) Ltd of India and Airports of Regions Management Company of Russia has been awarded a 30-year management contract as approved by the Sri Lankan cabinet said government spokesman and minister Bandula Gunawardena.

The USD 20.9 crore facility, dubbed as the “world’s emptiest airport” due to a lack of flights, was a major infrastructure project under the nearly decade-long rule of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The project was primarily funded through high-interest Chinese commercial loans, with USD 19 crore coming from the Exim Bank of China.

The Sri Lankan Cabinet, which conducted a meeting on 9 January, approved the call for Expression of Interest by potential parties. Following this, five proposals were received. The Cabinet-appointed consultative committee then decided to award the management contract to the Indian and Russian firms.

The Cabinet gave its approval to the proposal submitted by the minister of civil aviation and airport services, Gunawardena added. Since 2016, the government has been seeking commercial partners to manage the airport due to heavy losses.

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