Mar. 19 – Sri Lanka recently unveiled its second international airport in the southeast region of Hambantota. The main focus of opening this new international airport is to promote Sri Lanka’s growing tourism industry along with its southeast coast, and to also assist with freight traffic coming from Sri Lanka’s new Hambantota Port facility that is currently being constructed. Both projects have been funded through Chinese investments, with the airport estimated to cost around US$210million.
The entire region is the fastest growing in the country in terms of development. Currently, it takes up to 10 hours to reach the capital in Colombo. The construction of the national Southern Expressway, however, will reduce total travel time to about two hours. Furthermore, the opening of the new airport will get rid of the need to enter Sri Lanka through Colombo entirely.
The new airport is to be named after the president – Mattala Rajapaska – and will have a capacity of 1 million passengers per annum with an annual capacity to turn around 30,000 aircraft and 45,000 metric tons of cargo.
Several low cost airlines, including regional players such as FlyDubai (which has passenger routes that link to the CIS States), have already committed to three weekly flights to the new facility commencing in May. Air Arabia will also introduce new services to the airport to bring in passengers from around the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.