SriLankan no longer only ground handler at BIA and MRIA?

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Sri Lanka is considering opening up ground handling services to global airlines in an effort to ensure competitive pricing.

“Several airlines have complained that ground handling charges in Sri Lanka are high, so in order to be competitive we need to open it up. With two it will be more competitive,” said Civil Aviation Authority Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri.

Nimalsiri added that a firm decision is yet to be made on the proposal, which was raised during an industry stakeholder meeting headed by the Prime Minister’s Office. The proposal has been included in the new National Civil Aviation Policy for Sri Lanka that is pending Cabinet approval.

On the subject of ground handling, the policy paper states that, “Subject to airport space safety, and security constraints, and also environmental concerns, airlines shall have the freedom to self-handle where permitted or to select from available Ground Handling service providers. The Government of Sri Lanka will ensure that the Ground Handling Services at International Airports are provided on competitive pricing.”

Nimalsiri said that, depending on demand and capacity at the airport they would be looking at contracting only two ground handlers at the Bandaranaike International airport and the Mattala Rajapaksa International airport. He noted that, with only 25 airlines flying into Sri Lanka, accommodating more than two service providers would not be possible as it would complicate matters. “We have to think of a business aspect since there must be commercial viability as well.”

Ground handling services are currently provided by SriLankan Airlines, which is a state-run venture not specified for any particular airline; but in future they government hopes to open up this service to more than just the national carrier, in the hope of making pricing more competitive.

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