Turning a new chapter in the country’s aviation history, Sri Lanka’s second international air gateway - Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, will be opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today.
Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne said the facility will go down in history as the first-ever to be operated as an international airport from day one of its commencement.
SriLankan Airlines, the country’s national carrier, will fly the inaugural flight to MRIA.
Already 23 international airlines have voiced interest in initiating flights to MRIA.
The airport has a one million passenger handling capacity.
SriLankan Airlines during the first phase will operate two flights to Riyadh, four to Male, two to Beijing and one to Shanghai via Bangkok.
Another impressive factor at MRIA is that its modern airstrip could facilitate landing of the latest Airbus 380.
Sri Lankan Cargo will manage MRIA’s 5,000-square metre cargo facility with the capacity of handling 60,000 metric tons.
The airport is geared to support domestic flights as well and will handle air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambantota sea port and will be an alternative to BIA.
The entire project is to cost 200 million dollars.
Under the first phase, basic aerodrome facilities, runway apron, taxi way, passenger and cargo terminals are constructed.