Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. (AASL) Chairman, Major General (Rtd.) G.A. Chandrasiri yesterday said that AASL stands, if not the foremost, one of the foremost contributors to the national economy and the economic recovery of Sri Lanka, surpassing all other State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Major Gen. Chandrasiri said they have already paid Rs. 6 billion to the Government this year.
“We will give more to the Government by the end of the year as well,” he said.
Much is happening in the development of the infrastructure at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), he said. “We are poised to unveil an expansive road network around the BIA, a project that we are financing ourselves to the tune of Rs. 600 million. The second phase of this new road network is due for inauguration on November 20, in conjunction with other airport infrastructure projects,” he said.
“Perhaps, we are encouraging as well as pressurising all the other SOEs to enhance their revenue streams. AASL, in particular, has registered a remarkable 57 percent increase in profits compared to the previous year, with a total revenue of Rs. 28.5 billion from January 1 to September 30 this year, including operational profits of Rs. 15.9 billion,” he said.
AASL introduced the “Aeronautical Information Management System” (AIMS) at the BIA during the year, promoting safer, more resilient and efficient air travel, elevating Sri Lanka’s aviation standards to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.
“Our commitment to these initiatives has transformed us into a global aviation network. The Ministry of Ports and Aviation has played a pivotal role in realising these goals,” he added.
“This success has placed AASL on par with neighbouring states in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
Major Gen. Chandrasiri also highlighted the growing appeal of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination saying, “We have succeeded in making Sri Lanka one of the most sought-after destinations for tourists. Our airports now welcome around 5,000 international travellers daily, and we are on the cusp of returning to pre-pandemic levels of tourist and passenger arrivals,” he said.
AASL has also launched Azur Air direct charter flights from Russia to Sri Lanka. The inaugural Azur flight touched down at the BIA on November 1, carrying 332 passengers.
The AASL has set up broader screening systems, many lanes in the Customs areas, and high-tech immigration counters to deliver a better and faster border experience for travellers.