The Colombo airport earned Rs. 13 billion last year which saw 7.7 million passenger movements, Airport Aviation Services Chairman, Ananda Wimalasena said.
He said that the airport enjoys a monopoly and this was a big advantage."We also paid Rs. 500 million to the Treasury as a dividend."He said that this year they will start calling for international tenders to overlay the runway which is over 25 years old.
"During the relaying of the runway we may close the airport for around six hours during the day time or use an alternative area. However we have no plans to divert aircraft to the Mattala Airport," he stressed.
In a stunning disclosure he said they are confident to complete this "job" for less than Rs 36 billion than the originally agreed price. "The first tender on an unsolicited proposal to a local company was at Rs. 130 million.
"After the new government took over we revisited the tender and with negotiations we managed to bring this down to Rs. 86 billion.
However now I am made to understand that we will be able to seal a new tender deal for less than around Rs. 50 billion.
This will be for 15 weeks and when completed even the modern A380's will be able to land at Katunayake. He said that under the redevelopment plan of the airport, 16 new aero bridges will be built bringing the total number to 30.
In addition,ten new bus terminals too will be built.There will be flyovers to the new terminal while plans are also underway to bring the airport railway station closer to the airport giving the entry from the passenger terminal itself. New duty free shops and entry gates too will be introduced to provide a speedier service.
Commenting on the proposed new terminal, he said the shape of the lotus on the roof will be kept. However the rood would be lowered to save costs in maintenance it in the future." The total project cost would be 74 billion Yen and it is being funded by Japan International Corporation Agency(JICA) to be paid in 30 installments at the rate of 1%. The loan also has a 10 year grace period.
"We may also look at an airport hotel and a huge shopping mall in the future," Wimalasena said.
Sri Lanka has 12 domestic airports and they have decided to add more facilities to the Ratmalana, Palali, Ampara,Trincomalee and Koggala which are being used frequently.