Mar 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka's newest airport opened today and its surroundings will be a tax-free zone for aviation related industries, a top civil aviation official as said.
Chairman of the Airport and Civil Aviation Company Prasanna Wickramasuriya has said that the airport and its immediate surroundings, about 1,000 hectares will be designated a free zone for foreign and local investors to set up aviation related industries.
Wickramasuriya has revealed that the government is currently negotiating with foreign investors to establish facilities in the airport zone.
According to the Chairman talks were under way to set up warehouses, maintenance hangars aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operations, and other industries.
"We can be a regional hub for aircraft maintenance. Negotiations are on with a big European operator to set up a facility at Mattala," Wickramasuriya has told AFP.
"We have huge potential for cargo and tourist traffic as well," he has added.
The airport, built at a cost of US$ 209 million with Chinese funds, can accommodate Airbus A-380, the biggest passenger aircraft.