Sri Lankan Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala Desilva told Parliament that the airport, to be operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI), will be used for commercial purposes only and they are waiting for detailed plan to make the airport active.
Replying to a question, the minister said that a technical committee was appointed to evaluate the airport worth and AAI will own 70 percent majority stake in the venture while the rest will be owned by Sri Lankan government.
De Silva added that Sri Lankan government will hold the navigation rights and airspace control. Located 240 km from capital Colombo, Matale airport is considered the world’s emptiest airport as there is no passenger flight in service now.
It was built with high interest commercial loans from China and is suffering massive losses, putting a strain on government revenues.
Sri Lankan government invited investors to turn the airport into a profit making joint venture last year.
The minister added that the deal will be submitted to cabinet for approval and presented to Parliament before it is inked.