CIAL in discussions for proposed Sri Lankan airport at Weerawila

Colombo: A high level delegation from the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), headed by managing director, S Bharath, is currently in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to explore the possibility of setting up a Greenfield airport at Weerawila in southern Sri Lanka on the same model as the CIAL airport.

The delegation has arrived in the island nation on the invitation of the Govt of Sri Lanka and has already held discussions with the president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as well as the Sri Lankan minister for ports and aviation.

At their meeting with the Sri Lankan president, CIAL managing director S Bharath provided a detailed presentation on the economic model adopted by CIAL in the development of an aerotropolis around the airport, which has allowed it become self-sustainable.

The CIAL delegation also made an onsite visit to Weerawila to study the local conditions and also discuss technical and feasibility aspects.

The proposed airport site is 15km away from Hambanota, a fast developing city, in the southern province of Sri Lanka. The province itself is about 300km from Colombo and is also the political constituency of the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Government is currently developing a big port and a huge container terminal station at Hambanota in collaboration with the Govt of China and the Port Authority of China. These infrastructure developments are expected to act as a fillip for the development of the airport at Weerwila.

The minister for ports and aviation informed the CIAL delegation that a delegation of senior officials from the Sri Lankan Govt and the Airport Authority of Sri Lanka would visit CIAL within a few months to study the facilities there and to hold further discussions in the matter.

The CIAL delegation returns to Cochin on 2 February 2008.