Mattala Rajapaksa international Airport (MRIA), built in the South of the island a few kilometers from the city of Hambantota, is the most significant facility created during the reign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MRIA was opened in 2013 and cost 210 million dollars. In theory, the airport was to provide Sri Lanka with a second International airport and become the main engine of economic development of the poor city in which Rajapaksa was born, and its surroundings. However, in practice it was not so. Airlines planning to fly to MRIA quickly withdrew their services due to lack of demand, and even the national flagship carrier SriLankan Airlines cancelled its flights to the airport the day after Rajapaksa’s defeat in the January 2015 election. Currently, there are several flights to Mattala airport per week.
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