Batti airport to open next month | Sunday Observer

Batti airport to open next month

The Batticaloa airport will be opened as a civil airport by the end of next month, Civil Aviation Authority, Director General of Civil Aviation and CEO H.M.C. Nimalsiri said.

He said the airport has been vested with the CAA and steps are being taken to segregate civil and military operations so that the airport could be operated as a fully civil airport. It will be opened by Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva.

“The airport has a vast area of land where civil aviation operators can set up aviation facilities such as flying training schools,” Nimalsiri said.

He said a national policy for civil aviation has been drafted to make best use of the enormous potential of the airspace over Sri Lanka which is a huge asset to boost social and economic development.

“With clear, consistent and farsighted policies, the country’s air space can be made busier and more productive with numerous activities that would demand a variety of ground support, services and resources triggering the country’s growth engine to spin faster producing wider socio-economic benefits,” Nimalsiri said.

The national policy is being drafted in consultation with all stakeholders under the direction of the minister and the prime minister setting out the overall objectives of the government for civil aviation.

He said one of the primary objectives of the national policy is to improve the air connectivity enhancing the accessibility to ant part of the country from any corner so that the Sri Lankan community may enter and compete successfully in the globalised air transport market for economic growth opportunities.

The draft policy proposes opening up of Sri Lanka’s skies to the rest of the world for international commercial traffic on the basis of reciprocity aiming at enhanced connectivity and accessibility.

The draft national policy encourages private sector to invest in development of aviation infrastructure including construction, operation and maintenance of airports. It also proposes local private airlines that satisfy the international safety and security requirements to operate international commercial scheduled passenger flights competing with foreign carriers.

He said the national policy will provide greater freedom for use of airspace for economic gains, more business and employment opportunities, fair competition aiming at low price and better service to consumers.

With regard to the current status of the BIA runway he said the runway resurfacing work is almost complete and runway lighting and marking are being attended to at this moment of time. The work is progressing satisfying the applicable safety standards and it is right on targets as scheduled without any snags.

He said, although there was a limited period of three months when airport users had to undergo some difficulties, the runway after resurfacing will be better equipped to save the airport with the capability of accommodating any commercial aircraft with full load without any restriction.

Up to now, Sri Lanka had only one runway at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala which could accommodate A380 aircraft and with BIA runway being upgraded to handle A380 aircraft, both airports can complement each other for A380 aircraft operations as one airport could serve as an alternate airport when such aircraft are operated.

It is an immense enhancement of capacity as far as the country’s ability to handle big jets is concerned