Inauguration planned for this year :
Mattala int’l airport on track
With Sri Lanka aiming for a golden double of one million tourists and
one million US dollars in revenue from tourism, and the country
targeting nearly two billion US dollars in foreign direct investments
and many developments taking place in Hambantota, a second airport was a
crying need for almost a decade. Several new airlines too want to
include Sri Lanka in their radar while the existing operators want to
add capacity; hence, a second airport was a long-felt need.
Though a second airport was discussed for many years, lack of
finances and proper planning was a gray area. Finally, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa secured a loan of US$ 190 million from the Chinese government
to get the project off the ground.
Realising the importance of this project and its financial viability,
Airport and Aviation Services of Sri Lanka, motivated by its Chairman
Prasanna Wickramasuriya, also invested US$ 19 million for the project to
get off the ground.
The construction of Sri Lanka’s second international airport at
Mattala is right on track and would be ready by the end of this year.
Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne is also keen that this project is
completed on schedule and is monitoring the progress and wooing
investors and airlines.
Model of Mattala
The biggest advantage this airport has is sea and air cargo
transshipment with the Hambantota Port a few kilometres away. The
proposed International Container Terminal with all modern facilities is
another advantage to develop Hambantota as a cargo hub, opening many
opportunities to investors.
Investment opportunities also exist in direct aviation related
ventures such as aircraft MROs, aircraft painting, and flying schools as
well as in related trades such as hospitality, tourism, freight
forwarding and courier services.
The Mattala airport will also stress on having 60 percent of flights
for cargo and 40 percent for passengers; these ratios will also be
increased with the passage of time.
Hence, the airport will be used as a principal cargo hub where
vegetable and fruit exporters in southern Sri Lanka will get an
opportunity to export their perishable produce to the Gulf with the
minimum transit times. Tourists who will arrive in Mattala will also
have minimum transit times to holiday destinations such as Nuwara Eliya
and Arugam Bay.
Chairman Wickramasuriya said the airport would be the only
environment friendly airport in South Asia and the Government would be
targeting “Green Status” as well.
The airport, in the first stage, would have an 800-hectare block of
land while the second phase will be built on the remaining 1,200
hectares. The new airport will target the arrival of a million
passengers annually and the runway will accommodate even the
state-of-the-art A-380 aircraft, which will be 3,500 feet in length and
75 metres in width.
The progress of the
The main areas that are included for the airport are passenger
terminal building and control tower, cargo building, fire and rescue
facility, navigational and landing aids, visual aids and airfield
lighting, meterological equipment, water supply and fire fighting
system, power supply, waste disposal, car park and access roads,
telecommunication and landscaping.
Construction of external access roads, external water supply pipe
lines, two power sub-stations, a main station and fire service pumping
station is now in progress. The construction of a sewerage treatment
plant is also progressing. The construction work is carried out in
accordance with international standards in the airport and aviation
industry such as ICAO specifications for Code 4F.
Under the second phase, airport and aviation sector related
facilities will be established.
Accordingly, a servicing and repairing centre for aircraft, hotel and
recreational facilities, a pilot training centre, aircraft maintenance
hub, a private jet parking hub, technical training centres, a full
length parallel taxiway and other facilities will be established. The
construction work of a 200-room luxury hotel near second international
airport in Mattala was launched under the patronage of Speaker Chamal
Rajapaksa, Minister Priyankara Jayaratne and Parliamentarian Namal
Rajapaksa. This is the first star-class hotel to be constructed in the
area and is to be followed by more hotels to cater to the tourists and
visitors to the other projects in the district.
Progress of the control
Officials of Uva Leisure Resorts said the four-star hotel will be
built as an ‘eco-friendly paradise’, focusing special attention on the
environment during the planning of construction. The hotel will be
completed with modern amenities and will include a rooftop
swimming-pool, gymnasiums, auditoriums, squash and tennis courts, mini
golf area, kiddies play area and a coffee shop.
“After the construction of the airport, one million passenger
transactions are expected annually through the airport. The expected air
cargo transaction rate per annum is 45,000 mt. while the expected
aircraft movements rate will be 30,000 per annum. The airport will
provide around 2,000 direct employment and a considerable number of
indirect employment opportunities, Minister Jayaratne said.
He said in a bid to make Mattala more viable, they have already
accepted proposals to set up pilot training schools and aircraft
maintenance and repair facilities. SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha
Wickramasinghe said they would establish an aircraft maintenance centre
along with an international player. Minister Jayaratne said they have
already received many positive inquiries from local investors about
launching more domestic flights to Jaffna and Trincomalee. “We are
currently evaluating these proposals,” he said.
The Minister said Mahinda Chinthana clearly spells out that Sri Lanka
would be made a regional aviation hub and that the airport was a key to
achieving this target. He said their aim, as spelt Mahinda Chinthana, is
to make Sri Lanka an aviation hub and the opening of the second
international airport in Mattala would take the country closer towards