India and Sri Lanka have agreed to upgrade the Jaffna airport to an International airport without extending the runway.
A five-member technical team of the Airports Authority of India which inspected the airport recently, concluded it could be upgraded without acquiring more land.
An Indian official said upgrading the facilities without extending the runway is the best option if it has to be done without raking up a controversy over land acquisition.
According to the official, an upgraded airport may become operational in a year. Fears have grown by people residing in the area that agricultural land may be acquired for the expansion of the airport.
Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran also said any improvements to the airport will have to be done without depriving the people of their lands.
The Jaffna airport currently has a runway of 2.3 kilometers, enough for a narrow body jet passenger aircraft such as the Boeing 717.