Sri Lanka has announced its plan to invest in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) facilities at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).

State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development DV Chanaka was quoted by state-owned Daily News as saying: “The government will initially fund $50m to build the key infrastructure at MRIA for the MRO facility early next year.”

The government plans to seek international tenders for the operation of the MRO facility after a basic infrastructure has been constructed by State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Airport, Aviation Sri Lanka (AASL) and SriLankan Airlines, reported Xinhua.

It expects the MRO facility to expand into a key foreign exchange earner, creating several employment opportunities.

Chinese-constructed MRIA is located around 30km away from Hambantota Port, which is also constructed by China.

Both are linked to Colombo through the southern expressway.

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In February this year, Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka started the construction works for a new terminal to accommodate its increasing passenger numbers.

Sri Lanka plans to complete the construction before the end of 2023.

In July, BIA installed the latest X-ray machines to upgrade its baggage screening facilities.

Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) procured the X-Ray machines, worth $331,220, as a direct investment.

Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), also known as Katunayake International Airport or Colombo International Airport, is located to the north of Colombo in the town of Katunayake.