January 24, 2013
The Mattala International Airport will be declared open in March this year, the Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratne told Parliament today.
He said that phase one of the work on the Chinese funded airport is almost complete and the airport will open for air traffic on March 18.
The first test flight on the new air strip at the second international airport at Mattala in Hambantota landed in October last year.
A twin-engine Beechcraft Super king test aircraft belongs to Pakistan Civil Aviation Department successfully landed on the new runway in a measure to test air travel control instruments installed at the Mattala Airport.
“It was highly successful as the test aircraft equipped with testing equipment to test all new installation carried out the necessary test of all the equipment and reported they were in order,” Prasanna Wickramasuriya, Chairman Airport and Aviation said.
The aircraft piloted by a Pakistani pilot will remain in Sri Lanka for a week to conduct further tests.
The construction work of the Mattala International Airport would be completed at the end of this year and its commercial operation will be launched early January 2013.
The airport is being built on a 2,000 hectare land according to recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. A 1,000-square meter cargo facility will have the capacity of handling 45,000 metric tons of cargo per year.
The new airport when completed will support both international and domestic travel and air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambantota Harbor. (Colombo Gazette)