- Exempts landing, parking fees at both airports for one year
The Government has issued a gazette notification to exempt the payment of landing and parking charges at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and Colombo International Airport Ratmalana (CIAR), for a period of one year, with effect from 8 September.
The Government decision to provide special concessions to international airlines operating to MRIA and CIAR was gazetted on an Extraordinary Gazette No.2192/21 on 8 September.
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the decision was made in a bid to attract international flights to the two airports.
At a meeting held to discuss the issues faced by the airlines and launching international flights at Mattala and Ratmalana airports, airline representatives pointed out to the Minister that international flights have been hampered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and requested the Minister to make a submission to the Government in this regard.
On international flights, the maximum departure weight on landing charge is $4 per metric tonne, while parking charge is 10% of the landing fee.
In addition, the Government has decided to suspend the export tax levied at MRIA for two years, to support exporters. Minister said a relevant proposal was also approved by the Cabinet, and the Finance Ministry is currently taking further steps in this regard.
Minister also said that studies have revealed that an embarkation fee of $ 60 from passengers was detrimental to tourist attraction as compared to regional competitors, which is a significant portion of their entry price. He also said that budget airlines operating to MRIA have requested the Government to consider to reduce or waive off the embarkation fee, which is higher than the regional countries.
The Government has also decided to provide subsidised fuel for flights arriving at Mattala, which has been approved by the Cabinet. Noting that discussions have already been held with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) in this regard, the Minister said he expects the CPC to respond positively in the immediate future.
The Cabinet has also decided to give discounts on ground handling charges, which was comparatively high compared to regional airports. SriLankan Airlines is currently working on this.