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Adani Group may run three Sri Lankan airports ?

10 February 2024 11:04 pm - 68     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Mumbai, Feb 10 (Businessline) - Adani Group is negotiating with Sri Lankan authorities to manage three airports in the island nation, including its premier international gateway, Bandarnaike International Airport in Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s minister for tourism, land, sports, and youth affairs, Harin Fernando, said on Friday that modalities are being discussed between the two sides and could involve management contracts as well.

Other airports being offered are Ratmalana Airport in Colombo and Mattala Airport, the latter earning the tag of the world’s emptiest international airport seven years ago.


“There are plans to work with Adani Group for the management of airports,” Fernando told businessline on the sidelines of the OTM travel show in Mumbai.

The plan to rope in a private partner to manage airports comes amid a resurgence in tourism. Foreign tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka doubled to 1.48 million in 2023 on a year-on-year basis. This, however, has put a strain on the country’s airport infrastructure. It is hoped that a private partner would help in expanding the facilities and improving the passenger experience.

The Adani Group did not respond to an email query on the topic.

First foray

If the deal goes through, it could be Adani Group’s first overseas aviation foray. In Sri Lanka, it is already present in ports and the renewable energy sector. Last November, the group secured $553 million funding from the US International Development Finance Corporation for its west container terminal project in Colombo. The US backing was widely viewed as a move to curb Chinese influence in the region.

The Adani Group currently has a portfolio of eight airports (including the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport) in the country, serving 23 per cent of India’s passenger base.

“We are happy with tourism growth. In January, we received 208,000 tourists, and in the first seven days of February, we had 60,000 tourists. Our numbers are trending well, and forward bookings are looking great,” Fernando said. India is the largest source market for the country, accounting for 37 per cent of all arrivals in CY 2023. The Sri Lankan government is also targeting wealthy Indians to park their yachts at their marinas as a part of its marine tourism policy.

“We are targeting 2.3 million tourists in 2024, and we are quite hopeful we will reach the target. By 2030, we hope to attract four million visitors. That’s why we have to go for massive development projects,” he remarked.

New investments

Fernando said new investments are being made in the hospitality sector, and the government is also framing a homestay policy. While ITC is launching its maiden international hotel in Colombo, international brands such as IHG and Ritz Carlton are also developing properties in Sri Lanka.

“The Sri Lankan economy has bounced back. Our treasury was zero when we came to power. Now we have reserves of $4.4 billion. We are a beautiful country with so much potential. If we have five proper years of financial discipline, Sri Lanka will grow. Our government believes in public-private partnerships, and that is the way forward. Indians have done it very well,” he added.


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  Comments - 68

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  • DJ Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:00 AM

    Yes, sell the country more, soon Sri Lanka will be left with nothing.

    Karalasingam Sivalingam Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:05 PM

    What-else to do, everywhere corruption, whom can we trust in Sri Lanka, top to bottom immersed in corruption, you bribe a peon, your requirement would be met, you give a bottle of arrack, it works faster than money

    Mandayan Monday, 12 February 2024 03:16 AM

    We never wanted to share any with minorities and fought wars and bankrupted the country and as a result, we had no options but to share with foreigners. Are we not perfect fools?

    saman Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:11 AM

    So you want to do all this in the last 7 months you are in power. Inform Adani that they carry a risk of these being nationalized again under the peoples government who will be appointed.

    Binal Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:26 AM

    Hey what, anith Sha , cricket bookie, BJP, modi Nexus in full.swning , NPp As nura rope in as well .

    Sunil Sunday, 11 February 2024 01:26 AM

    We have intelligent people in our country and in the airport. Government must get a consultant from Heathrow or JFK Airport management to transfer skills and mentor us to better manage. For this you don't need Adani. If you need additional investment, borrow from World Bank showing them a winning proposal. All skills and talents available within our country and don't find short cuts to give Adani. Don't be lazy Government Politicians, work hard and stand on your own 2 feet and bring respect to our country. Dubai never outsources but gets winning CEOs from UK to improve the airports.

    Citizen Sunday, 11 February 2024 01:51 AM

    In simple words the government is not capable of doing anything by them self to develop the country, any layman can give the property to another person to develop. It is showing the incapability of the politicians. This is not a talent.

    Dasun Mendis Sunday, 11 February 2024 01:52 PM

    The reason is because all the middle level qualified technocrats from Sri Lanka have emigrated for better opportunities. So politicians can only talk but are not qualified to perform. We in SL need to train and retain talent, not outsource.

    PoliTick Sunday, 11 February 2024 02:41 AM

    Thank you to all the (Poli)ticks in SL... we are being driven to a slavery situations.

    raj soma Sunday, 11 February 2024 03:00 AM

    OMG , why we keep inviting foreign groups to run our airports , Airlines ,Ports etc,etc... Don't we, Srilankans have the ability and know how to take care these projects ? . Or is it corruption ,kick backs to the minister preventing Srilankans doing these projects.. Its a shame , we don't have qualified personal to administrate and run these institutions. .

    Dr Karunaratne, USA Sunday, 11 February 2024 04:18 AM

    We can’t stand idly by while the imbecile President is selling our strategic asserts piece by piece to India. There are now only two choices either the Army take power instantly or a definite civil war against all the Sri Lankan Politicisns .

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 02:17 AM

    Nobody is selling anything. Where did you get your doctorate from or for? Was it from the fools' school of thought? Read the article in its entirety - if you can!

    Manik Sunday, 11 February 2024 05:07 AM

    This fellow is dreaming. Besides, he is not even an elected MP, so how can he negotiate with an Indian Businessman to manage our national assets. If true, these fellows and his predecessors not only bankrupt the nation, they have failed even to produce a single competent Sri Lankan manager to manage our own Airport. what a shame.

    Tissa Fernando Sunday, 11 February 2024 05:12 AM

    Why can't we run our Air Ports by ourselves? This is a fishy deal. AKD is silent.

    Chris Sunday, 11 February 2024 02:39 PM

    The brightest and best are leaving the country. We are left with stupids. Walk into any hotel, bank you can see the level of inefficiency.

    ravin Sunday, 11 February 2024 06:03 AM

    Have we gone crazy ? At two airports we got strategically important military installation. Why don't these politicos sell themselves in streets and make there dough.

    Rajiv De Silva Sunday, 11 February 2024 06:25 AM

    Sell Sell sell Sell everything.

    Bandu Sunday, 11 February 2024 07:02 AM

    You don't want monopolies. That is one company dominating the market. What happened to SL companies. Don't give enough commission to political crooks.

    Placing in 1 Entity is Dangerous Sunday, 11 February 2024 07:34 AM

    Don’t place all your eggs into 1 basket! They will cut cost by having centralised systems

    Chaos at 3 Airports if Network Breakdown Sunday, 11 February 2024 04:16 PM

    Imagine their network breaking down

    Mohandev Sunday, 11 February 2024 07:50 AM

    Bravo indians were smart to give kalu coat AKD injection to guarantee JVP approval for their $boys Adaaanis to be safe in SL , wow another Aragalaya victory!

    Gabriella Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:19 AM

    Every State owned enterprise should be privatised. It doesn’t automatically entail increased charges. It increases the prospects of profitability and the drain on the treasury. But the Adani group are not a philanthropic organisation and have very poor environmental credentials and, will have scant regard for criticism. As I stated elsewhere, expect these deals to materialise as the elections are approaching and for many in government, it will be their last opportunity.

    Gabriella Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:19 AM

    Every State owned enterprise should be privatised. It doesn’t automatically entail increased charges. It increases the prospects of profitability and the drain on the treasury. But the Adani group are not a philanthropic organisation and have very poor environmental credentials and, will have scant regard for criticism. As I stated elsewhere, expect these deals to materialise as the elections are approaching and for many in government, it will be their last opportunity.

    sam Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:28 AM

    Sad that Sri Lanka with a high literacy is unable to manage anything.

    Mohan Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:53 AM

    We have to subtract the Chinese currency swap of $ 1.5 billion to find the actual foreign reserve, which should be about $ 2.9 billion.

    Jayantha Sunday, 11 February 2024 08:56 AM

    Good move. Government should sell or go with partnership for all loss making government institutes excluding health and education. In latter two government should encourage pvt sectors to strengthen themself and make it affordable in health care and education. This way less burden for government. Allow pvt sector to start own universities where we may be able to attarct foreign students too. Use port city as a gambling hub for tourists so that those who havw extra money will spend on them and it will be an extra income for the country.

    Fhffjjggffffff Sunday, 11 February 2024 09:00 AM

    Well let's hope All the very best for a new NPP government, I think with this party Adani will not be able to play any pranks

    Sokrates Sunday, 11 February 2024 09:05 AM

    Sri Lanka does not have a single dollar of reserves. This money all belongs to the creditors. Not a cent has been paid back so far.

    ANTON Sunday, 11 February 2024 09:14 AM

    CAN'T WE ASK HIM TO RUN THE PARLIAMENT ALSO , WHERE HUGE CARS LAND , IT IS VERY PROFITABLE.

    Seqi Sunday, 11 February 2024 10:11 AM

    Welcome to Sri Lanka, India's Southern most state.

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 02:25 AM

    Ironic, isn't it? While we Sri Lankans thought we were high and mighty and didn't feel like we needed to work hard to protect our assets our seemingly worst enemy India was working tirelessly to build their industrial and technological empire. Ironic because the Sinhalese people treated the Indians with such contempt but now we need their help. Pride comes before a fall. It's not too late to change our mindset and our attitude towards other nations, and stop with the jealousy and narrow mindedness that's destroying our country. Let's move on upward and forward for the sake of our children and future generations.

    Jude Sunday, 11 February 2024 10:13 AM

    Government should never ever ever give the running of BIA to anyone. BIA huge revenue stream for the government. Most importantly gov't should collect landing fees and run the BIA. Mind you people can reach in and out from BIA mostly Coz Lanka is an island people have to fly in and out and BIA the key entry and exit point.

    Kick these scum out Sunday, 11 February 2024 10:28 AM

    Sell the country off just to stay in power. The next generation can beg borrow and steal.

    Jeanne Sunday, 11 February 2024 05:14 PM

    Please shut up and read the article before you make stupid comments.

    Mybiz135@gmail.com Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:27 AM

    Now we know why Anura from JVP was asked to come India

    Amaran Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:30 AM

    This is to tract to know who are coming to the country and leaving the country. All clauses should be in writing if management will be given to India.

    warren Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:33 AM

    Hi NPP (Malimawa guys), please use some of your usual tactics to stifle these progressive plans....Oh, but wait....Your comrades visited India recently, right?

    Pearl of Asia Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:37 AM

    Incapability what else, incompetent politicians, They can not do anything, waste fellows

    Hilarious Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:17 PM

    Where is m.wansa ? Why is he quiet? Is he okay ?

    Mandayan Monday, 12 February 2024 03:18 AM

    He is stuffed with money in his mouth and busy counting.

    Fred Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:41 PM

    Airports are strategic assets covering defence sovreignty. Iam sure there are shortcomings but to hand 3 airports to a private operator whose business life has been mired in controversy.That is disappointing and demoralising to staff There are better countries you can go for help Singapore a Sri Lankan favourite ,Australia New Zealand not to hand it over to run but to get help to run it better.Primary reason in my view is political interference also remuneration issues Now the people causing the problem are looking for solutions

    Karalasingam Sivalingam Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:55 PM

    Adani Group managing our Air Ports is a welcome move, over staffing, political interference, bribery and corruption within the Airport would cease, in Sri Lanka, I have faced many hassles due to inefficient staff been placed in many institutions .

    Have another Vendor too Sunday, 11 February 2024 05:57 PM

    Correct. But Having a consortium of private parties is better than just 1. It will lead to competition

    Fred Monday, 12 February 2024 12:32 AM

    What is the cause.Should address thar first otherwise there will be bribery corruption on a bigger scale.Country has to be run by its people otherwise it is not a country it is a Colony

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 02:33 AM

    Very true. I think most readers would agree with your comment. Overstaffing is caused by everyone doing their friends a favour and hiring wanting a bribe to do their job for which they are either ill-suited or inefficient - or both!

    ANNECUNT Sunday, 11 February 2024 01:34 PM

    good new for sri-lankan citizens atlast we our minister cannot steal money from the airports

    Mahesh Sunday, 11 February 2024 02:52 PM

    We are very proud with our selves with import everything but export nothing. Cannot able to manage any of our service industry but expecting others to run. We are very good at borrowing money at very high rate and sending our women to work as housewives to the Middle Eastern countries and expecting to re pay all foreign loans. I wonder why all ministers have big belly

    anonymous Sunday, 11 February 2024 03:45 PM

    If we can not make profit out of airports, best thing is to out source it. I assume that Sri Lankan airlines can be profitable if it is managed properly.

    Ron hardy Sunday, 11 February 2024 04:27 PM

    We have failed for many years in all sectors purely due to unprofessionalasim theft curroption bribery now there's no other way you can't trust management staff Inc high up officials privertising will restrict many issues that country facing with financial difficulties and standards procedures

    Jeanne Sunday, 11 February 2024 05:13 PM

    @Sunil : In case you haven't noticed, all the intelligent and efficient people that you are referring to have left the country permanently. The lack of organisation and opportunity together with corruption and inefficiency has seen a mass exodus of elite professionals. Let Adani help get the airports and Sri Lankan Airlines back on their feet.

    Tissa Fernando Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:28 PM

    Indian blood talking.

    wsw Monday, 12 February 2024 04:41 AM

    @Jeane, as per your comment "in case you haven"t noticed, all the intelligent and efficient people that you are referring to have left the country permanently" R we limited to dealing with just Indians, regardless? I would be more inclined to put up with an inefficient bureaucracy in the short term but work on a home grown solution from the ground up, rather than hand over vital national assets to a neighbour, hell bent on regional hegemony by hook or crook.

    raj Soma Sunday, 11 February 2024 11:37 PM

    We have given on 99 yrs lease the Hambantota port, City within a city in Galle face, the Colombo ports , Islands in Jaffna peninsula and now all the Airports... We are having Presidents, Prime Minister, and 225 Ministers in Parliament to sell our country? Why is our Public playing dumb to all this...Voice out to the country

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 01:56 PM

    Beggars can't be choosers. This is the only way out of a very dire economic situation. Your comment is valid but unfortunately not at all practical given the circumstances.

    Patcitz Monday, 12 February 2024 12:02 AM

    Sri Lankans lost their country to INDIA by Ranil's initiative pressurized by the US and its very PLOT installed Ranil to hold power.

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 02:40 AM

    What people need to understand it that, we are now in a rebuilding stage. For the sake of our country we need to put aside petty differences and jealousies and work together to regain our country's reputation as hardworking, efficient and friendly people. Not just for the tourists but mainly for the people who live here. No one wants to leave the country of their birth and leave all of the beautiful memories and sentiments behind. But they are forced to for economic reasons. It's unfair because our politicians, even when they retire, remain in the country because they have looted enough money to live here luxuriously. This exodus of our native people has got to stop. So, in the name of progress, let's try and work together. No one is perfect and we all love to criticise politicians but, when someone is trying to pull us out of the mud, let's not drag them down with us in the process.

    Mark Anandappa Monday, 12 February 2024 11:06 AM

    Why this hurry to handover everything to Adani Group? Aren't there any other specialised companies to run Airports other than businessman like Adani.

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 01:10 PM

    @Mark : The simple, short answer is : No.

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 01:07 PM

    @Tissa Fernando : It's racist narrow minded nicompoops like you who will never, ever let the 21st century into this country. You are all steeped in some archaic arrogance that we can ill-afford today. We are at rock bottom.

    Tissa Fernando Monday, 12 February 2024 06:03 PM

    You know what, one reason why Sri Lanka has got into current mess that we have so many bootlickers worshipping anyone from a foreign country. You are one of them.

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 01:09 PM

    @wsw : Would you though? And why would you? You pay full price for a substandard product you demand a refund however, a refund is not possible with human resources. Either you are blessed with the patience of Job or you are being just plain silly.

    wsw Monday, 12 February 2024 02:54 PM

    @Jeanne, I'll take your comment as a compliment rather than drag myself into a slang fest with you. I also note the tone of your responses with most contributors to this blog, some bordering being unhealthy. Let's say, not everyone shares the same sentiment as you do when it comes to dealing with Indians. Many folks, with good reason, will always view India and its actions with a jaundiced eye, regardless.

    foreign aid Monday, 12 February 2024 01:16 PM

    Since gaining independence from the British 75 years ago the country has been relying on foreign aid especially from countries like Australia USA Canada and the UK and never learnt to do anything on our own since we didn't have the knowledge or expertise. India which is tipped to be the next world super power has come to our aid helping to manage and build all the infrastructue of the future otherwise we will be left behind.

    Rees Monday, 12 February 2024 04:41 PM

    Own people robbing left right

    Jeanne Monday, 12 February 2024 05:03 PM

    @foreign aid : Thank you for making one of the few sensible comment on the subject. Lost of course, on all the narrow minded bigots commenting here.

    Buddhist Monday, 12 February 2024 05:34 PM

    When Adani has not implemented the earlier agreements signed with the SL Government, what is the point of giving them further projects? Let them first implement what has been given to them.

    raj soma Monday, 12 February 2024 08:34 PM

    Reading all these comments, what did Srilankans do for 77 yrs since independence? We degraded our Plantation sectors like Tea ,Rubber , Coconut industry.. Farmers were deprived of doing farming by importing everything without producing locally to meat the demand like many Asian countries have done ...The world is changed but SL not.We have more members in the parliament than our provinces. The amount of Money the govt can save... We need to change first by reducing the members in the parliament to 25-30 max.. We need to start now, if not these minister will sell everything out and we will be cash strap for generations to come.. Somalia , will be ahead of us.

    A Sri Lankan Tuesday, 13 February 2024 03:01 PM

    Two points worth noting: 1. Sri Lanka was a dominion of the UK until 22 May 1972. So in actual fact, we as a nation, haven't had 77 years of absolute freedom. Even thereafter and up to now, Sri Lanka has been bullied, both politically and economically, by powerful regional countries and groups eyeing our strategic location. Whatever aid was given had strings attached. What happened between 1972 and now is common knowledge to all unbiased Sri Lankans residing in this country. 2. The Adani Group is currently facing opposition from the fishing community in South India over their attempts to 'develop' a harbour. Their track record and attitude are obnoxious to their own countrymen! You can find the details in the BBC World News archives.


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