Sri Lanka opens Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport

18 March 2013 (Last Updated March 18th, 2013 18:30)

Sri Lanka has opened its second international airport located at Hambantota, which was funded by a $210m loan from China's Export-Import Bank.

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport

Sri Lanka has opened its second international airport located at Hambantota, which was funded by a $210m loan from China's Export-Import Bank.

The first phase of the new Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) cost $210m and will be able to handle one million passengers a year, 30,000 aircraft movements and 45,000t of cargo.

Features of the new airport include a 4,000m-long, 75m-wide runway and two taxiways, as well as a 5,000m² cargo facility. The airport can also house the world's largest commercial aircraft.

The airport incorporates ten parking bays and two aero bridges and, upon completion of the second phase of the project, it will feature 20 parking bays and 15 aero bridges, which will help serve seven million passengers and process 150,000t of cargo a year.

"By 2016, the government of Sri Lanka expects 2.6 million tourist arrivals."

Construction on the new airport commenced in 2009; around 2,000ha is reserved for the project, of which 800ha have been used for the initial phase.

The airport is intended to act as an alternative to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, which is also being redeveloped, and give a boost to tourism in the country.

By 2016, the government of Sri Lanka expects 2.6 million tourist arrivals, up from one million tourists handled during 2012.

To comply with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the new airport will be capable of serving the latest operational aircraft and more advanced aircraft of the future.


Image: Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport can handle 30,000 aircraft movements per year.