June 28, Colombo: The opening of the Katunayake International Airport for tourists could be delayed, said the Minister of Industry and Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation, Prasanna Ranatunga.
The Minister said although measures have been taken to open the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport by August 01, a large number of expatriate workers have requested to return to the country and more time is needed to bring them back to Sri Lanka.
“Nearly 50,000 migrant workers have requested to return to Sri Lanka. They're registered in embassies. The President is of the view that all of them should be brought to Sri Lanka. The President said that the people should be protected even if they were brought. Therefore we are doing this very carefully. We will continue to bring them back in the future. It is compulsory for all those who come to have a PCR test. After the PCR teat, the results will take several hours. So this task will take longer than we thought,” the Minister said.
“Our aim was to bring in tourists by August 1st. Open the airport. But in this scenario, we will have to completely open the airport after August 15 or by the end of August. But the attempt to open the airport on August 1st has not been completely abandoned. But it may be a little late in this situation,” the Minister added.