News, views and contacts from the global Airport industry

Hambantota International Airport, Sri Lanka

Key Data


The Sri Lankan Government, discovering the immense potential for development in the southern part of the country, decided to build an international airport. Named after its province, Hambantota International Airport (HIA) is expected to serve five million passengers by 2028. The new airport would act as a catalyst in economic and tourism growth in the country.

The first phase of construction at the airport site started in November 2009. China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) is the construction contractor for the airport, while the Airport Authority of Sri Lanka (AASL) will operate the airport. The Chinese Government is extending its financial assistance for the project.

Construction details of HIA

"The first phase of construction at the airport site started in November 2009."

The airport is being constructed in two phases. Phase 1, which includes the passenger and cargo terminal, runway and taxiway, apron, and aerodynamic facility, is being developed on 800ha of the 2,000ha allocated land and is expected to be operational by the end of 2012 or in early 2013.

Phase 2 includes the construction of an aviation school, a parallel taxiway, and recreational facilities such as an airport hotel.

Hambantota International Airport features

The airport will feature a 20,000m² passenger terminal, a cargo terminal with an area 10,000m² and a 35m-tall air traffic control tower.

The passenger terminal will have an area of 12,000m2 and a capacity to handle one million passengers per annum. It will have ten international check-in counters, two domestic check-in counters, two contact gates and two passenger boarding gates. Future stage 2 extensions will further add 26 international check-in counters, eight domestic check-in counters, and 28 passenger boarding gates to the terminal.

Hambantota International Airport design

The design theme is aimed at creating an eco-friendly airport. Care was taken so as to ensure that no ecological and environmental imbalances would arise during the construction of the airport, while the existing environmental conditions in the neighbourhood will remain undisturbed.

The design of buildings and the airport infrastructure is planned to immingle with the environment. One quarter of energy consumption is planned to be sourced from natural renewable energy. Existing water bodies will be preserved and new water bodies will be developed to maintain the ecological balance.

Related project

Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), also known as Katunayake International Airport, is located in the town of Katunayake to the north of Colombo. Serving six million passengers a year, it acts as a hub for Sri Lankan Airlines and serves British Airways, AirAsia, Indian Airlines, Condor, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates and Jet Airways.

Benefits of the Hambantota International Airport project

Hambantota International Airport is set to provide an alternate air transport link to Sri Lanka. Its opening will avoid the traffic congestion at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by diverting some traffic.

The Hambantota and Monaragala regions are economically developing with a great scope for growth. Construction of an airport near these regions will uplift the economic and business activities. Direct and indirect employment opportunities will be created for the people around the airport, which in turn will help ease the poverty in the region.

Hambantota International Airport is also expected to flourish the tourism and infrastructure of the country and encourage people to migrate to its surroundings. It will be an ideal location for aviation and aviation maintenance industries due to the abundant availability of land at a low cost.

The surrounding neighbourhood is a large agricultural zone and the cargo facility in the airport will help to enhance the export capacities of the country and increase the economic activity.

Hambantota International financing

The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and Airport Authority of Sri Lanka (AASL) are financing the project. Additionally a Chinese firm is funding $210m for the project.

Hambantota International runways

The airport has a single runway (05/23), which is 3,500m long and 60m wide, that can handle larger aircraft such as the A-380. Construction of the runway was completed in July 2011. Two taxiways, TWY A and TWY B, will also be constructed.

Hambantota International parking

The airport is provided with two open-air parking lots, while car parking in the terminal building has 400 spaces. A remote parking area situated at a distance of 300m from the terminal building offers parking at cheaper prices.

Hambantota International contractors

China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) was selected as the contractor for the construction of the new airport.

"The Chinese Government is extending its financial assistance for the project."

In April 2012, CHEC awarded a contract to Cassidian for installation of the TETRA radio communication network at the new airport. The product, Claricor, will be supplied to Queens Radio Marine Electronics of Sri Lanka, which will be responsible for the installation. The network has an automatic vehicle location function, which is feasible to be integrated with the security systems of the airport.

In February 2012, UK-based Systems Interface was contracted to supply and install Instrument Landing System (ILS), Doppler Very High Frequency Omni-directional Radar (DVOR) and Distance Measuring System (DME) on the runway.

Hambantota International Airport (HIA) is located in southern Sri Lanka.
Hambantota International Airport will serve as the second international air link for Sri Lanka.
The airport is being built in order to ease the traffic congestion of BIA and to enhance the economic activity in the southern part of the country.
Hambantota International Airport (HIA) is expected to be opened by end of 2012 or early 2013.