The group of UNP parliamentarians who visited Hambantota Airport and the Harbour on a fact-finding mission on April 17 handed over an interim report to the party Leadership Council today, based on the tour and charged that both mega projects were carried out in haste and were unprofitable.
“It is evident that both mega projects were carried out in haste, ignoring feasibility studies. A strategic plan will have to be put in place to avoid future defaults on loans taken out when carrying out mega projects such as these,” UNP Parliamentarian Eran Wickremeratne said.
He said that a more suitable location for a second airport was situated in Hingurakgoda with basic infrastructure facilities to use in case of an emergency, instead of Mattala which was also in the same weather zone as the Colombo airport.
“It is requirement that an airport needs access to a second runaway in case of an emergency or in the event of severe weather conditions. Mattala also lies in the Southwest monsoon zone. Therefore Both Colombo and Mattala will be affected the same by a bad weather condition. Hingurakgoda lies in a different zone and is a better location for a second airport,” he said, adding that the Mattala airport did not appear to be geographically and environmentally suited.
The report said that there was an artificial attempt to utilise capacity by diverting flights at Mattala as there was no demand for the airport. “Only a handful of passengers had embarked and disembarked. On a typical day, 3 to 6 aircraft were handled,” it says. (Lahiru Pothmulla)
Pix by Kithsiri de Mel