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Rajapaksa International Airport (also known as the Hambantota International Airport (HIA), Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) is an international airport serving the city of Hambantota in southeast Sri Lanka. Upon completion, Mattala International Airport will be Sri Lanka’s second international airport, after Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) and the Ratmalana Airport is a domestic airport of Colombo.
The new international airport is expected to expand the local aviation industry whilst being a catalyst for the country’s economic development enabling international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment. It is being implemented as an eco-friendly project. The airport is estimated to cost US $210 million and, by the end of construction, will cover 2,000 hectares. It is being built to be compatible with the latest Airbus A380 aircraft and has been designed according to recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The airport is designed to facilitate for over 800 foreign passengers at peak hours and several local passengers per every 1000 km² inside the buildings. It will be made to support air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the nearby Hambantota Port, which is about 15 miles away, and would act as an alternative to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) from the date of its completion in 2011. The Chinese government is providing financial assistance for the project.
The airport is being constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company. Upon completion, the airport will be operated by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. The runway, apron and taxiways were fully constructed by the end of February 2012. Inaugural test flight landed in the airport at 12.38 p.m. on 16 October 2012.
The first plane was a Hawker Beechcraft B200 registered as AP-CAB in Pakistan. It was an instrument testing aircraft fitted with ATC testing equipments. The test flights continued for 8 days for testing the ILS and other flight controls fixed in the new airport. The second plane to land at Mattala was a Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A330-200, landed on 29th January 2013
Advantages of using Sir Lanka as a tourist destination
Advantages of using RIA to enter Sri Lanka.
Transportation at RIA
Ground Handling Services
Sri Lankan Airlines provides ground services for all airlines that operate into Sri Lanka. It has gained a reputation with customer airlines for excellence in providing a friendly and efficient service. 6th Airline in the world and 1st in South Asia to be awarded ISAGO certification in 2009, which is presented by the International Air Transport Association (lATA), the industry’s global governing body. ISAGO is globally accepted as the industry best practice programme for airport ground handling operations. Sri Lankan Airlines will be the exclusive ground handler at AASL (Airports and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited) airports and will encompass: Passenger handling Baggage services Cargo handling Services for charters and privately owned aircraft.
Airport and Aviation Services
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd is a fully government owned company with statutory powers to manage and develop civil airports in Sri Lanka. It is one of the leading public business undertakings making a great contribution to the national economy and it is the institutional mechanism of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) through which economic benefits of civil aviation industry are channeled to the nations coffers. The company is among the top most profit-making blue chip companies in Sri Lanka. It is actively involved in the national infrastructure development drive of the GOSL especially in the field of aviation and the construction of the Southern International Airport at Mattala in the Hambantota District is one of such mega project, which is currently on its public works schedule. The company has identified the need for doubling the handling capacity at Bandaranaike International Airport(BIA) within the next five years and construction works necessary for such capacity enhancement are planned to commence in the near future. AASL is being transformed into a marketing oriented blue-chip public company capable of withstanding competition and benefit from competitive advantage. The company is planning to promote domestic aviation using the existing infrastructure at civil aerodromes scattered around the country and spread its wings covering the whole island.
Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location as a gateway between the east and west is attracting a significant increase in cargo throughput. Some of the significant achievements are: Cargo operations in 2010 increased 21% over the previous year (second-highest growth ever recorded! at BIA) Export cargo increased by 19% Import cargo rose by 25% An increase in capacity, flight frequencies and cargo flights A ‘green channel’ introduced for live animals and perishables, cold room facilities and sophisticated screening facilities, attracting freight forwarders.