Japan firm lands massive Sri Lanka airport contract

A Japanese firm was chosen by Colombo Thursday to build a new $570 million terminal for Sri Lanka’s main airport, as Tokyo re-emerges as a key infrastructure backer amid a raft of Chinese projects.

The cabinet announced the Taisei Corporation was picked to develop the Japanese-funded project, with the new terminal expected to double capacity at Bandaranaike International airport to around 20 million passengers a year.

The decision follows the financing of Colombo’s planned $1.5-billion light rail system last year by Japan’s overseas development agency — the biggest single foreign investment in the island nation.

During the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was recently appointed prime minister, Sri Lanka secured almost $7 billion in loans from China, dislodging Japan as the island’s main infrastructure funder.

But a second international airport funded and built by China in Sri Lanka’s south is a white elephant, with no airline using it for scheduled flights.

Unable to service its loans, Colombo leased a Chinese-built deep-sea port at Hambantota to a Beijing company for $1.12 billion in 2017.

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Qantas cuts flights to Asia as coronavirus hits profits

Sydney (AFP) Feb 19, 2020

Australian airline Qantas on Thursday announced a major reduction in flights to Asia as the deadly coronavirus outbreak that began in China impacts demand and eats into profits.

The carrier said it would cut flights to Asia by 16 percent for at least three months, with flights to Shanghai suspended and those to Hong Kong and Singapore reduced.

Its low-cost brand, Jetstar, would likewise reduce its Asia flights by 14 percent until the end of May, impacting routes to Japan, Thailand and mainland C … read more

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