In response to a question in Lok Sabha today whether the Airport Authority of India (AAI) is considering purchasing a controlling stake in the Mattala airport, thereby gaining ownership of the airport, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has said there is no such proposal under consideration at present. Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on July 19 told parliament that Airport Authority of India has been requested to submit its business plan for operating the loss-making Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Mattala.
When asked whether the AAI would build a flying school and a maintenance, repair and overhaul unit at the Mattala airport, Minister Sinha replied in the negative, Economic Times reported.Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the AAI and Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Authority will enter into a 70-30 joint venture agreement to operate the facility. The idling Airport dubbed as 'world's emptiest airport' was constructed with a US$ 190 million loan from the China Exim Bank and US$ 40 million from the China Harbor Engineering Company while the Sri Lankan government spent US$22 million. The MRIA was running at a major loss of Rs. 20 billion annually, according to Minister of Civil Aviation.