Questions are now being raised as to what’s happening to the duty free tenders for Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) floated by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited in the month of May 2016.
The tenders were submitted and the price bids were reportedly opened in the first week of July. Both the current operators were given extensions till mid-December 2016 to ensure continuity of the service at the airport.
The tenders have reportedly attracted five responsive bids by leading global duty free operators. The core category duty free shops are the main cash cows for Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited and contribute more than 60 percent of the non-aeronautic revenue earned by the airport.
The tender procurement committee is yet to communicate the outcome of the tender even
after 4.5 months. According to informed sources, with the current bids for duty free operations, BIA will be able to nearly double its revenue earned during the previous years. They point out if the decision to award the contract is further delayed, the airport and government will lose massive amounts of revenue.
While the country is currently going through a phase where every attempt is made to garner additional revenue through additional taxes, fines and levies, which were announced in the budget, one can only wonder what the motivation could be behind such a protracted delay in awarding the contracts.