Transport Minister Adhil Saleem has said that Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) raising its fees for international ground handling was not an issue.
Speaking to Haveeru, Saleem said that even though airlines had raised their concerns over the hike in ground handling fees, he did not see a cause for concern as the charges within the region in comparison with Maldives are almost the same.
“Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) raised the fees back in 2010. The issue only surfaced when GMR tried to claim the unpaid fees. Transport ministry and Economic development ministry have given the airlines a time period to pay GMR and are also currently discussing the reasons behind the delay“ , he added.
He also said that some airlines owed around $3 million and have been given several opportunities to clear their dues.
"We have also informed them that services will be ceased if the dues are not cleared within the allotted time period," Adhil said.
Haveeru received a copy of the letter sent by MACL to former finance minister Ali Hashim after the 50% raise in ground handling fees on the 1st of February 2010.
Following the fee hike, Sri Lankan Airlines has announced that they would stop direct flights to Europe from next month and Qatar Airways also warns that they might have to stop operations in the country.