Sri Lanka's Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga, decreed on September 8, 2020, that all landing and parking charges at Hambantota and Colombo Ratmalana airports have been waived for one year in a bid to attract foreign airlines.

The Ministry of Finance is separately working on enacting the waiver of airport tax at Hambantota airport, having already received the go-ahead from the prime minister. The government has also resolved to subsidise fuel for foreign airlines serving the airport. Tamil-language daily Virakesari reported that negotiations with state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation are ongoing.

Ranatunga said that the government hoped to secure sustained international traffic to Hambantota within the next six months. The Director of Operations at Airport and Aviation Services Ltd (AASL), Shehan Sumanasekara, told the Business Times that the focus would be on cargo services, although passenger flights were also targeted. AASL has reportedly held "serious-level discussions with IndiGo Airlines, Air India, flydubai, and MAI - Myanmar Airways International", as well as with Emirates.

Sumanasekra added that AASL would look at options to attract industrial plants and trading companies to the immediate vicinity of the airport to facilitate international cargo traffic, while simultaneously looking at improving ground connectivity with regional tourist attractions.

The airport located in southern Sri Lanka is famous for its lack of activity. Opened in 2013 by strongman president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his home constituency, Hambantota was due to serve both as a hub for leisure traffic to resorts on Sri Lanka's southern coast, as well as a cargo gateway for the simultaneously constructed Hambantota Port. However, the airport failed to secure any scheduled cargo traffic, while passenger traffic was minimal through 2018, when the last airline, flydubai, pulled out. Since then, Hambantota has been practically dormant. The airport saw some resurgence of cargo and charter operations during the COVID-19 pandemic but so far, none of the airlines has pledged to serve the airport on a scheduled basis.

Colombo Ratmalana is the old airport serving Sri Lanka's largest city, the country's main international gateway prior to the opening of Colombo Int'l in 1967. The airport exclusively serves limited domestic traffic operated by FitsAir (8D, Colombo Int'l).

Besides Ratmalana and Hambantota, Sri Lanka's government is also expanding Jaffna in the country's north and Batticaloa in the east as secondary international gateways complimenting Colombo Int'l.