Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa has commissioned the country’s second international airport built at a cost of US$209 million.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, named after the president, was officially opened today in Hambantota, 165 kilometers southeast of the capital, Colombo, AP reports. The first plane to land was a Sri Lankan Airlines flight.
The spacious new airport has a 4,000-meter long, 75-meter wide runway and two taxiways, and it is equipped to handle the largest commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A380. It also has a 5,000-square meter cargo facility. The Hong Kong International Airport runway is 3,800 meters.
The international airport has an initial capacity of 1 million passengers a year with 10 parking bays and 2 aero bridges, but when fully developed, it will have a 21 million passenger capacity. There will be 20 parking bays and 15 aero bridges.
In the first stage, it can handle 30,000 aircraft movements and 45,000 metric tons of cargo annually. Officials hope it will open the island’s south to tourism.
After ending of three decades of Tamil terrorism in a final determined military campaign in 2009, Colombo has invested heavily in infrastructure development, with special emphasis on he south. (courtesy the slandered)
The airport is the third biggest recent infrastructure project in Hambantota after a sea port and an international cricket stadium.
Meanwhile environmentalist say that the airport has been built in elephant territory .