World's emptiest airport in Sri Lanka as last flight schedule cancelled

13 June 2018 | International

Sri Lanka's jinxed second international airport was left without a single scheduled flight from Friday after the only airline using the remote facility scrapped its daily service.

Dubai's flydubai gave no reason for the pull-out from Mattala International, built by former strongman president Mahinda Rajapakse and financed with Chinese loans.

The airport - a five-hour, 250-kilometre drive from the capital Colombo - is located inside a wildlife sanctuary and smack in the middle of a migratory route for birds.

Several aircraft have hit birds since it opened in 2013 and two years ago the military deployed hundreds of troops to clear deer, wild buffalo and elephants off the sprawling facility.

The airport, which cost an initial US$210 million and employs some 550 workers in Rajapakse's home district, has failed to generate enough business to pay staff, let alone make a profit.

Rajapakse's administration had offered hefty concessions and initially attracted Air Arabia - which pulled out after only a few weeks - and flydubai.

Even Sri Lanka's national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines stopped flying to Mattala in 2015 saying the move saved them US$18 million annually.

Mattala will however remain an emergency alternate landing location for flights heading into Colombo International. Earlier this year the world's largest aircraft, the Antonov 225, refuelled there.

Other Chinese investments have also turned sour for the island nation, leading the government to warn last month of a looming debt crisis as it struggles to pay back the loans.

Last August, China took over the loss-making deep-sea port of Hambantota in the south of Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease under a US$1.1 billion deal, sparking particular concern in neighbouring India.

China has also lent other countries in Asia and further afield vast amounts of money for infrastructure projects being built under President Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road initiative.

In April the International Monetary Fund warned China about saddling other countries with a “problematic increase in debt”.

NAMPA/AFP

Similar News

 

Israel closes people crossing with Gaza: official

2 days ago - 20 August 2018 | International

Israel closed its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip on Sunday except for humanitarian cases over border incidents that saw protests and clashes...

Fresh quake rocks Lombok

2 days ago - 20 August 2018 | International

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok Sunday, sending people fleeing into the streets just two weeks after a tremor killed more...

All eyes on Geingob

5 days ago - 17 August 2018 | International

All eyes are on President Hage Geingob today as he takes over the SADC chairmanship from South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, with the region expecting...

Mnangagwa remains president

1 week ago - 14 August 2018 | International

Emmerson Mnangagwa will remain the president of Zimbabwe with full powers until there is a new president to be sworn in, Zimbabwean foreign minister Sibusiso...

Namibia takes over SADC committee chair

1 week ago - 10 August 2018 | International

The 38th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit started with the handing over of the Standing Committee of the Senior Officials chairpersonship yesterday.Namibian international relations...

ZANU-PF signalling victory

2 weeks ago - 02 August 2018 | International

Zimbabwe's ruling party is signalling victory in the presidential election and telling the opposition that "we should all lose graciously."Spokesman Paul Mangwana also told reporters...

Zanu-PF attains parliament majority

2 weeks ago - 01 August 2018 | International

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party won the most seats in parliament, official results showed yesterday, as the count continued in the presidential race and the opposition...

Repatriation a trap - Ya Nangoloh

3 weeks ago - 30 July 2018 | International

NamRights executive director Phil Ya Nangoloh has commended the Botswana High Court's ruling that the repatriation of about 800 Namibian refugees be halted.He also claimed...

Dukwe refugees to stay in Botswana

3 weeks ago - 27 July 2018 | International

A bid to forcefully repatriate the remaining Dukwe refugees currently exiled in Botswana suffered a setback when Lobatse High Court judge, Godfrey Nthomiwa, ordered they...

Lavrov tells all

4 weeks ago - 23 July 2018 | International

After months of increasing diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia, presidents Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, Finland on 16 July after the...

Latest News

Breaking our World Cup duck

17 minutes ago | Columns

Our hearts swelled with pride and joy when the national rugby side defeated Kenya 53-28 this past weekend to not only win the Africa Gold...

Bank Windhoek, Capricorn launch Private...

17 minutes ago | Banking

STAFF REPORTERThe offering unites the very best that Bank Windhoek and Capricorn Asset Management have to offer to create a boutique financial offering that caters...

Loerie Award spreads Buy-a-Brick message...

17 minutes ago | Business

STAFF REPORTERThis time the agency did it by picking up a Loerie Award for a temporary structure called ‘The Shack’, which won in the category...

Listeriosis impacted pig producers

17 minutes ago | Agriculture

The outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was one the major challenges which Namibian pig producers experienced during the past year. This was highlighted during...

Farms to pay municipal rates

17 minutes ago | Agriculture

Following the announcement by the City of Windhoek that farmers within Windhoek's extended borders will have to pay municipal rates, the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU)...

Company news

17 minutes ago | Business

AngloGold swings back into H1 profitAngloGold Ashanti swung back into a first-half profit on the back of higher production and lower-than-expected retrenchment costs, Africa’s top...

Northwest winning poaching war

17 minutes ago | Environment

Rhino poaching in the northwest of Namibia has declined by 80% since it peaked in 2013. This is according to the CEO of Save the...

Land Rover on the trail...

17 minutes ago | Motors

Land Rover has embarked on an unexpected expedition to preserve the precious African rhinoceros and its habitat by joining an urban rhino trail across London....

The adrenaline-pumping New Mégane R.S....

17 minutes ago | Motors

The New Mégane R.S. was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, and it is with pride that Renaults now offers this...

Load More