Sri Lanka’s Mattala International Airport was formally opened on 18-Mar-2013, as confirmed by Daily News and Colombo Page. The airport is Sri Lanka’s second international airport after Colombo and capable of handling aircraft up to A380 size. USD209 million was invested to construct the airport with funding support from the Export-Import Bank of China. The facility has an initial capacity to handle one million passengers p/a, which will be expanded to five million p/a by 2015, under the second phase of development. Sri Lankan Ministry of Civil Aviation announced it will offer discounted airport charges and fuel prices for airlines using the airport, as well as offering discounts for passengers flying to certain areas in Asia. Airport and Civil Aviation Services Company chairman Prasanna Wickramasuriya said the airport is also being marketed to charter and logistics operators, with concessions offered to attract them. SriLankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka, flydubai and Air Arabia have committed to operate from the airport. Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Sichuan Airlines and Emirates also plan to operate to the airport. SriLankan Airlines and Mihin also plan to set up its an aviation academy and an MRO facility, to be run via a partnership with Lufthansa. Sri Lanka Tourism expects the opening of the airport will help contribute to meeting its target of 2.5 million international visitors in 2013.
18-Mar-2013 4:20 PM