Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CIAL to hold talks with Lanka on setting up of airport there

KOCHI: A team of Cochin International Airport Limited will hold preliminary discussions with Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa on the possibility of setting up a new greenfield airport in Southern part of the island nation on the model of Nedumbassery airport near here.

The delegation, headed by CIAL Managing Director S Bharath, will hold talks with Mahindra Rajapaksa, Lankan Minister for Ports and Aviation and other senior government officials, a press release from CIAL said.

The team, which will leave for Lanka today, would also visit the proposed airport site at Southern Srilanka and hold further talks with the authorities concerned, ministers and senior Sri lankan government officials on the steps required to undertake the project.

The release said Rajapaksa was impressed with the facilities he saw at the Nedumbassery Airport, owned by CIAL, during his visit to Kerala in December 2005. On his return, he was keen to receive a delegation from CIAL to have detailed talks on the possibility of setting up a cost effective greenfield airport on the same lines of CIAL, it said.

The matter was pursued by Bharath through the offices of the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister T K A Nair, who followed it with Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India C R Jayasinghe and Secretary to Sri Lankan President Lalith Weeratunga.

In September last year, when Weeratunga visited India a presentation about the project was given to Weeratunga and Nair in the presence Jayasinghe.

CIAL developed the first airport in the country under the public-private partenrship mode.

India Times