Mattala Rajapaksa (formerly Hambantota) International Airport, Sri Lanka


The Hambantota International Airport (HIA), also known as Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), is the second international airport in Sri Lanka. The airport is named after the country's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The airport is located in Hambantota city, 241km southeast of Sri Lanka's capital city, Colombo, and is operated by Sri Lanka's Airport and Aviation Services.

The airport has the capacity to handle one million passengers per year and is expected to handle five million passengers, 50,000t of cargo and 6,250 air traffic operations per annum by 2028.

An automated fuel hydrant system and a state-of-art aviation refueling terminal were opened at the airport in 2014. The fuel hydrant system is located within the apron and was constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) with an investment of $7m. The aviation refueling terminal and the interconnecting pipelines of 1.2km length were built by Amana Pipeline Construction, a company based in Dubai, with an investment of $31m.

Construction details of HIA

"The second phase of construction at the airport site is expected to be completed by 2016."

The airport was built in an area of 2,000ha, with funding from the Chinese government. The airport construction is divided into two phases. The construction of Phase-1 began in 2009 and covered an area of 800ha. Phase-1 included the construction of basic airport facilities, runway, apron, passenger and cargo terminals, taxi way, access roads and other facilities.

The entire Phase-1 construction was completed in 2012 and the airport was officially opened in March 2013 by the President.
The Phase-2 development, named Hambantota International Airport Expansion and Facilities Upgrading Project, was awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in 2013. The project was funded through a $100m concessional loan lent by Export-Import Bank of China.

The expansion includes upgrading of hangar and airport facilities, construction of new parallel taxiway, a new cargo apron parking stand and cargo taxiway, a new hangar, and expansion of airport terminal. The Phase-2 expansion is expected to be completed by 2016.

Passenger terminal

The passenger terminal at HIA is spread over 10,000 square metres with a number of facilities including one million ft2 duty-free area. It has 12 check-in counters (10 international and two domestic) with inline baggage screening, 10 emigration and 10 immigration desks, two contact gates and two passenger boarding bridges.

The terminal also has three lounges - Business lounge, VIP lounge and VVIP lounge. The completion of Phase-2 will add 26 international check-in counters, eight domestic check-ins, 14 contact gates and 28 passenger boarding gates to the terminal.


The HIA has a 3,500m long runway that can handle A380 flights. The runway, which is designated as 05/23, is 60m wide and has paved shoulders of 7.5m on both sides.

In addition, the airport has two taxiways namely Taxiway Alpha (code F) and taxiway Bravo (code C). The Alpha taxiway is 370m long and 60m wide while the Bravo taxiway is 362.5m long and 25m wide.


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.

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.

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. The airport uses 15% of energy needed to run the facility from natural renewable sources to reduce the carbon foot print. Existing water bodies are preserved and new water bodies are developed to maintain the ecological balance.

Benefits of the Hambantota International Airport project

Hambantota International Airport provides an alternate air transport link to Sri Lanka. It avoids 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. Presence of an airport near these regions helps in uplifting the economic and business activities. Direct and indirect employment opportunities are created for the people around the airport.

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

Hambantota International financing

The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and Airport Authority of Sri Lanka (AASL) financed the project. Additionally a Chinese firm funded $210m for the project.

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, was supplied to Queens Radio Marine Electronics of Sri Lanka, which was 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.