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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future?

Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future?

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Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
By Umesh Moramudali and Raj Moorthy

Sri Lanka's second international airport, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), started its operations last Monday (18). With its opening, the Ministry of Civil Aviation expects one million passengers to arrive in the country, within the year.

Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd, and the person in charge of the project, Prasanna Wickremasuriya, said four airlines have already agreed to fly to MRIA.

"SriLankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia have confirmed flying to MRIA. In addition to these four airlines, Emirates, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines have also shown an interest to fly to MRIA," he said, adding, with the opening of MRIA, passengers will have a choice as there are two airports in the country.

"Passengers who want to come to Colombo can use the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake, while people who are from outstation can use MRIA. Many important tourist destinations such as Nuwara Eliya, Yala and Arugam Bay are closer to MRIA than BIA. In 2012, nearly 115,000 tourists visited the Yala National Park.

This number can be increased, if the tourists can arrive to an airport closer to the national park, than the BIA. They can arrive and depart from MRIA," he explained.

He also said a tourist bus service will be available from Mattala, to transport tourists to various attractions around the country.

Wickremasuriya said, "Though Mattala is on the fringes of the Southern Province, it also borders three other provinces, namely, Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and Uva, whereas if you take Colombo, it is bordering only one province, Wayamba. Therefore, a passenger coming to Mattala can easily reach the entire hill region, Trincomalee and the rest of the country. MRIA's passenger capacity during the first stage of the airport is one million, whereas the cargo capacity is 45,000 metric tonnes. The land area is around 5,000 square metres. The cargo building also has cold storage capability. There are 540 air routers around the area.

Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, added its second destination in Sri Lanka with the launch of non-stop flights to Mattala.

New route
The new route marks Air Arabia's 84th destination worldwide. The inaugural flight G9508 took off to Mattala on18 March 2013.
The low-cost pioneer will operate two weekly services between Sharjah and Mattala, to be increased to four times a week starting from19 May 2013.

On Thursdays and Sundays, flights will depart from the Sharjah International Airport at 21:30, and will arrive at MRIA at 03:45. Return flights will depart the next day from Mattala at 04:25 and will arrive in Sharjah at 07:35 (local time).

Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, Adel Ali said: "It is a continuation of Air Arabia's longstanding commitment to expand our presence in the Indian Subcontinent. Just a few months after our inception in 2003, we launched a direct service to Colombo, which was our first destination in the Subcontinent, and we are delighted now to add a second route to the country. Our new service to Mattala is in direct response to passenger demand, and it contributes to the trade and tourism ties between the UAE and Sri Lanka."

The launch of services to Mattala will complement Air Arabia's existing nine weekly flights from Sharjah to Colombo. The airline currently offers daily flights to the capital city, and twice daily on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Air Arabia currently has nine flights to Sri Lanka, out of which they will fly twice to MRIA.

"British Airways (BA), which will start flights to Sri Lanka via Male from 15 April this year, hopes to start flights to the MRIA by next year or the year after. BA will want to see how Mattala is taking off the ground, because BA is very security-conscious. They will see whether their required securities are obtained. In the future, they might operate at MRIA," said Director/General Manager, General Sales Agent (GSA) for BA, Hayleys Aviation, Gerard Victoria.
Turkish Airlines, which started flights to Sri Lanka on 1 February this year, has hopes of going to Mattala.

"We are really positive about the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). It depends on our direct flights from Istanbul to Colombo. When we will have daily direct flights, why can't some of these flights arrive at the Mattala Airport? It is a really new and wonderful airport and hopefully with a good service, we hope to get in at MRIA. But we need some time to finalize that," said Turkish Airlines General Manager - Northern and Eastern India, Adnan Aykac.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines, (CEO) Kapila Chandrasena said during the first phase, SriLankan Airlines will be operating two flights to Riyadh, four to Male, two to Beijing and one to Shanghai both flying via Bangkok, while there will be two Mihin Lanka flights operating to Bodh Gaya, adding they do not expect all the local passengers who arrive in or depart from BIA, who are residents of Colombo and suburbs, to come to MRIA.

Attracting investors
"For example, most of those who leave for Middle Eastern destinations and Bodh Gaya are from other regions of the country. So, they will find it convenient to board their intended flights from an airport situated in the vicinity, rather than coming to Colombo. Besides, Mattala will also attract investors who are hoping to start business there, and not to forget the wildlife and nature enthusiasts who will choose MRIA over BIA for obvious reasons," he added.

When asked whether there will be domestic airline services he said, SriLankan Airlines will be operating six flights to Mattala from Colombo and five to Colombo from Mattala.

He further added, with the opening of MRIA, SriLankan has introduced special fares for both its internal and international flights. He said, through this move, we are expecting to attract more passengers to get the taste of the novel flight experience.

"Besides, being the major flight operator at MRIA with our selected line up of destinations, we are looking at various sections of passengers who will be flying with us, thereby bringing in revenue. We are also targeting Sri Lankan expatriates living and working in the Middle East from the surrounding provinces. This will give us a commercial advantage over the other carriers. We consider the initial investments as the investment for the future and building a sustainable competitive advantage. We, as the national carrier are participating in a national venture for the future," he said.

Sufficient facilities
When asked whether there are enough facilities around MRIA for air passengers he said the facilities are available now. He added, with the commissioning of the airport and the economic development, these facilities will continue to expand at a rapid pace. Furthermore, the transport infrastructure development associated with the airport will reduce the travel time from the airport to the tourist attractions and the accommodation close-by.

Minister of Civil Aviation, Piyankara Jayaratne said they are expecting one million passengers to come to the MRIA in the first year. He said, MRIA was constructed by taking a loan of US$ 209 from China and that loan is due to be paid within 20 years.

Not a 'white elephant'
"We believe we will get enough returns from MRIA to pay back the loan. This is not a white elephant," he said.

The minister went on to say there has been the need for a second international airport for the country for a long time, but none of the governments took steps to construct an airport.

"There were situations in which the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) could not get landing rights. In such cases we had to send those flights to India. However, we do not need to do it anymore. We can send such flights to MRIA," he said.

Facilitating passengers
Meanwhile, in order to facilitate the passengers who use MRIA, Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) will commence special luxury bus services to Mattala daily.

According to a higher official of the SLTB this bus service will commence through the Southern Expressway.

He said ten luxury buses will be deployed initially and SLTB hopes to increase the number of buses according to the demand of the passengers, adding bus services will be conducted from other parts of the country in the near future.

He said the time tables of these bus services will be released soon.
http://ceylontoday.lk/22-27634-news-detail-mattala-airport-a-gateway-to-the-future.html

Chinwi

Chinwi
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Although they talk big in media , the facilities at Mattala are at very primitive stage at the moment.

Yes, they have built a very nice airport inside a thick shrub jungle.

When you come out from the airport there is nothing but jungle. No place at-least to buy a bottle of water , take some food. Just nothing except hot sun and scrub jungle !.

One village fellow brings some "ice packets" and food in a "Dimo Batta" and keep it 3-400 meters away from the airport. Everyone including some lower grade officers rush to it cos that is the only way to feed you. He even bring "Bath Packet" and you have to sit on "Pas Kandiya" in hot Sun in front of an International Airport to eat it.

You must know there are No buses after early morning. You have to walk 6-8 km in very hot sun alone , along newly build road way to reach a bus route and wait another 2-3 hrs to catch a local CTB bus if it is not cancelled.

At the moment they say there are two buses leaving from airport in the morning.
ladies at Inquiries know nothing about services like this.

If you arrive in 12.55 (noon) flight you are marooned. If you are lucky a 3 wheeler man from nearby Uda Maththala village will be there sometimes.

He will ask you 1,400 to go towards Hambantota until you reach a bus route or 900-1,000 Rupes to go to Wellawaya road( 22 post) . Then you can catch buses from/to Badulla and Thissamaharama.

Some henchmen have given the chance to run cab services called Red cab and Green Cab etc. As they charge exorbitant rates no one use them . Hence the drivers usually park the cars and get vanished.

For past 4 years they were building this airport and it was done very nicely. They or local bodied have done nothing in the surrounding area except the approach roads. . The poor village maththala is same like many decades ago. At-least there is no fuel station in the area.

Hence, until they address these issues no one will land there.

For the time being they should at least put shuttle bus service to Hambantota and Thanamalwila for each flight or arrange some small vans so anyone can hire them.

Actually they can promote Turbo pop flights from Ratmalana at reasonable rates. If they arrange transport from Mattala I think it is about 40-45 minutes drive to Katharagama via Lunugamwehera.

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
I like your unbiased feedback here.

Good things
1) We needed a 2nd Air port badly
2) Mattala if developed with proper insight and not political , personal or monetary gains can bring economic benefit to country

Issue I have to Mattala

1) Was this the best location for an air port
2) was there more show to finish this quicker than putting essential facilities in place ( partly what you mentioned) before opening an Air port

Still there is time to put things right if the vision is truelly patriotic.

Sasanka De Silva

Sasanka De Silva
Manager - Equity Analytics
Manager - Equity Analytics
What I heard was that there is no facility to refuel aircraft there other than 30 Tons only. Surprised

Chinwi

Chinwi
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
@Sasanka De Silva wrote:What I heard was that there is no facility to refuel aircraft there other than 30 Tons only. Surprised

Actually I see it like this:

At the moment they start Bangkok and China flights from BIA , land at MTL then fly out of the country.

Some other flights to Middle East , Start from MTL, touchdown BIA and leave .
For them there is no problem because they need fuel only for flying 35 mins from MTL.

The problem is with the other way, when the go out of the country from mattala. They can only get little qty from BIA for the local flight and then refuel fully at MTL to go long journey. So they have to transport unnecessary amount of jet fuel by road . To BIA they use rail track.

Not only that, there is one other bigger problem. say, you board at BIA the plane 1/2 hrs before departure, take 35 mins flight to MTL , land there and have to stay 60 - 70 mins inside the plane and then fly to Bangkok and China.
At the moment 99 % of the people use BIA.
That means, 99% of the passengers are wasting time inside the plane for 2 - 2 1/2 hours , still they are in Sri lanka. !
They do not give any food or drink for the local flight . I do not know how there are bn treated during 1hr -1hr20 mins at MTL.
If they do not change this menace sudda and cheena fellows will definitely go to Cathay or Thai airways.



Last edited by Chinwi on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

Kithsiri

Kithsiri
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
To add to misery, if the flight is a short hop, then carrying payload will be restricted considerably.
Extras in maintenance costs and crew expenses are hidden charges that we have to bear in the long run.
When you add + & -, then airlines have to think whether it is really worth such sectors, but this will never come in to mind of any of the two airlines presently in Sri Lanka.

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
@Kithsiri wrote: but this will never come in to mind of any of the two airlines presently in Sri Lanka.
These are running to cover up our politicians dramas in the name of patriotism.

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@Chinwi wrote:Although they talk big in media , the facilities at Mattala are at very primitive stage at the moment.

Yes, they have built a very nice airport inside a thick shrub jungle.

When you come out from the airport there is nothing but jungle. No place at-least to buy a bottle of water , take some food. Just nothing except hot sun and scrub jungle !.

One village fellow brings some "ice packets" and food in a "Dimo Batta" and keep it 3-400 meters away from the airport. Everyone including some lower grade officers rush to it cos that is the only way to feed you. He even bring "Bath Packet" and you have to sit on "Pas Kandiya" in hot Sun in front of an International Airport to eat it.

You must know there are No buses after early morning. You have to walk 6-8 km in very hot sun alone , along newly build road way to reach a bus route and wait another 2-3 hrs to catch a local CTB bus if it is not cancelled.

At the moment they say there are two buses leaving from airport in the morning.
ladies at Inquiries know nothing about services like this.

If you arrive in 12.55 (noon) flight you are marooned. If you are lucky a 3 wheeler man from nearby Uda Maththala village will be there sometimes.

He will ask you 1,400 to go towards Hambantota until you reach a bus route or 900-1,000 Rupes to go to Wellawaya road( 22 post) . Then you can catch buses from/to Badulla and Thissamaharama.

Some henchmen have given the chance to run cab services called Red cab and Green Cab etc. As they charge exorbitant rates no one use them . Hence the drivers usually park the cars and get vanished.

For past 4 years they were building this airport and it was done very nicely. They or local bodied have done nothing in the surrounding area except the approach roads. . The poor village maththala is same like many decades ago. At-least there is no fuel station in the area.

Hence, until they address these issues no one will land there.

For the time being they should at least put shuttle bus service to Hambantota and Thanamalwila for each flight or arrange some small vans so anyone can hire them.

Actually they can promote Turbo pop flights from Ratmalana at reasonable rates. If they arrange transport from Mattala I think it is about 40-45 minutes drive to Katharagama via Lunugamwehera.
Well...this is pathetic. I think government expect private sector to do those things but till then government should provide atleast basic facilities. Hope there is adequate toilet facilities. Otherwise jungle can be used. Laughing Laughing Laughing

The Alchemist


Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=345716735527835&set=a.156054544494056.25583.156006677832176&type=1&ref=nf

Chinwi

Chinwi
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Above are the little findings I made spending few hrs at Mattala.

By the way,
The quality of the work is very nice. It is a wonderful creation.

Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future? Mtl410
.

Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future? Mtl110

I do not blame the Govt.
I think other organization did not do their job in parallel with the development of the air port.

They had four years to do more than this.

One reason is clear; people in the local bodies have no capacity or knowledge to cater this level of environment.

The Govt. has to do few things more quickly to make this a proper place. Also re-schedule departures from mattala. You have to start from mattala then land at BIA for all the international flights.

The Alchemist


Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
"You have to start from mattala then land at BIA for all the international flights."
hi chinwi - can you please clarrify why should it be like this ? is it due to fuel storage ? cannot they fix it ?

chamith

chamith
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
I was just thinking Cost of Maththala airport 260Mn USD. & the cost of Shangri La cololmbo 500Mn USD ... lol
Our ppl r so clever; build a airport & pocket some money also with half the cost of a 5 star hotel

Why did mahinda happen to born in Hambanthota, if he was born is galle, or kandy, we are talking about this topic differently,,,,

UKboy

UKboy
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
@chamith wrote:I was just thinking Cost of Maththala airport 260Mn USD. & the cost of Shangri La cololmbo 500Mn USD ... lol
Our ppl r so clever; build a airport & pocket some money also with half the cost of a 5 star hotel

ඔයානන් හරිම දක්ෂ කොල්ලෙක් තමා chamith. ඇත්තටම ඔක්කොමටම ඔයටික අමතක උනානේ. බලාගෙන ගියාම අපි රජ වැඩ කාරයො තමා

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
@chamith wrote:I was just thinking Cost of Maththala airport 260Mn USD. & the cost of Shangri La cololmbo 500Mn USD ... lol
Our ppl r so clever; build a airport & pocket some money also with half the cost of a 5 star hotel

Why did mahinda happen to born in Hambanthota, if he was born is galle, or kandy, we are talking about this topic differently,,,,
Tusnami affected even in Galle and all of us know about the culprits of Tusnami Fund which was commented by Ex- CJ after his retirment.
End of the day pocketing for future generation of their own.

Chinwi

Chinwi
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
@The Alchemist wrote:"You have to start from mattala then land at BIA for all the international flights."
hi chinwi - can you please clarrify why should it be like this ? is it due to fuel storage ? cannot they fix it ?
sorry. im uding my phone at d mmt.
planes cannot land with lot of fuel. so they cnt fuel fully at BIA if they land mtl. they hv to bring lot of fuel to mtl by road if they start long flights frm mtl.
if start from mtl and land at BIA they can refule fully from bia and then fly out of the country. no time wasted for 99% pasngrs.

The Alchemist


Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
@Chinwi wrote:
@The Alchemist wrote:"You have to start from mattala then land at BIA for all the international flights."
hi chinwi - can you please clarrify why should it be like this ? is it due to fuel storage ? cannot they fix it ?
sorry. im uding my phone at d mmt.
planes cannot land with lot of fuel. so they cnt fuel fully at BIA if they land mtl. they hv to bring lot of fuel to mtl by road if they start long flights frm mtl.
if start from mtl and land at BIA they can refule fully from bia and then fly out of the country. no time wasted for 99% pasngrs.

ok. thanks.

chamith

chamith
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@UKboy wrote:
@chamith wrote:I was just thinking Cost of Maththala airport 260Mn USD. & the cost of Shangri La cololmbo 500Mn USD ... lol
Our ppl r so clever; build a airport & pocket some money also with half the cost of a 5 star hotel

ඔයානන් හරිම දක්ෂ කොල්ලෙක් තමා chamith. ඇත්තටම ඔක්කොමටම ඔයටික අමතක උනානේ. බලාගෙන ගියාම අපි රජ වැඩ කාරයො තමා

තන්ක්ස්. Sri Lankans are always like that no....

No


Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic
Not gateway we should find a get away out of here soon.

Chinwi

Chinwi
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
Associate Director - Equity Analytics
@chamith wrote:
@UKboy wrote:
@chamith wrote:I was just thinking Cost of Maththala airport 260Mn USD. & the cost of Shangri La cololmbo 500Mn USD ... lol
Our ppl r so clever; build a airport & pocket some money also with half the cost of a 5 star hotel

ඔයානන් හරිම දක්ෂ කොල්ලෙක් තමා chamith. ඇත්තටම ඔක්කොමටම ඔයටික අමතක උනානේ. බලාගෙන ගියාම අපි රජ වැඩ කාරයො තමා

තන්ක්ස්. Sri Lankans are always like that no....


Yes. We are talking much about an airport and its BIG cost.

The cost of building the fountain in front of Burj Dubai ( now Khalifa) was 220 million US$ 4 years ago . !

ඩුබායි වල බර්ජ් ඛලීෆා ගොඩනැගිල්ල ඉදිරිපිට සංගීතය සමග වෙනස් වේග වලින් ජලය පොම්ප වෙමින් පාට විදුලි බුබුළු දැල්වෙන ජල මල් ටික හදන්න වසර 4 කට කලින් ගිය වියදම 220 million US$ !

Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future? 220px-Burj_Khalifa_fountain

CSE.SEE


Manager - Equity Analytics
Manager - Equity Analytics
Mattala Airport: A gateway to the future? Air10

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