India to operate Sri Lanka’s loss-making Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota

India will operate the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport as a Sri Lanka-India joint venture in Hambantota. The $210 million facility, 241km south-east of Colombo, is dubbed the “world’s emptiest airport” due to a lack of flights. Mattala airport, named after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was funded through high interest Chinese commercial loans. The airport was officially opened in March 2013. It has the capacity to handle one million passengers a year and is expected to handle five million passengers, 50,000 tonnes of cargo and 6,250 air traffic operations per annum by 2028.

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