Sri Lanka is set to establish another world record as its second international airport was left without a single scheduled flight from Friday (June 8) after the only airline using the jinxed facility scrapped its daily service.
Dubai’s Flydubai announced the sudden withdrawal from the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and offered to refund tickets of a handful who had bought tickets or re-route them to Colombo.
The airport, 250-kilometre (150-mile) drive from the capital Colombo — is located near wildlife sanctuaries and smack in the middle of a migratory route for birds. The airport has been collecting more revenue from local tourists visiting Rajapaksa-era white elephants in the Hambantota district.
Flydubai and Air Arabia – both budget carriers — began operating to Mattala after the previous administration offered them concessions at the Bandaranaike International in Colombo if they touched down at Mattala on their way in or out of the island.