Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament that that the government has decided only to seek investors to run the Mattala Airport efficiently. They have not taken any decision whether we would give Mattala Airport to India or not. Today, the media is running the country. It is setting the country on fire searching for issues to attack the government. We have not made any decision to give the airport on a 99-year lease.
He went on that there were 574 workers at Mattala airport in 2013. The number of passengers who came to the airport was only 1,451. In 2014, the number of passengers was 2,578, in 2,015 the figure was 1,044 and in 2016 it was 1,317. This year so far we got only 1,274 passengers. Planes do not land where we want. The Mattala airport does not have modern facilities. Actually, it is not an airport but only half of it.
He went on that when Mahinda Rajapaksa was giving away the Port City and Shangri La they kept their mouths shut. India has investors who are willing to invest at Mattala. We are not selling it off giving it outright to them. Indian investors like to improve Mattala Airport as a joint venture with the company running the BIA. There is no final decision yet. The SLFP does not belong to a single family. We, too, have a right to the party. We are paying ten times the income of Mattala Airport to maintain it. It is a national crime.