Billed to be South Asia’s only environmental friendly
‘Mattala airport to be tourism, cargo hub end 2012’
Foundation stone laying ceremony for main passenger
terminal today :
The $ 209 million Mattala airport, will be converted to a tourism and
cargo hub for Southern Province which will be a boon to the tourism and
export industries. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will lay the foundation
stone for the construction of the main passenger terminal building today
while Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne and Hambantota District
Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa will also be present.
The airport which will be built from funds from the China Harbour
Engineering Corporation, will see that the first phase will be completed
by end 2012 on a 800 hectare block of land while the second phase will
be built on the remaining 1,200 hectares. The new airport will also
target the arrival of a million passengers annually and the runway, will
also accommodate even the state of art A 380 aircraft, which will be
3,500 feet in length and 75 metres in width.
The Mattala airport will be used as a principal cargo hub where
vegetable and fruit exporters in southern Sri Lanka will also get an
opportunity for exporting their produce which are perishables to the
Gulf with the minimum transit times while the tourists who will arrive
there will also have the minimum transit times to holiday destinations
such as Nuwara Eliya and Arugam Bay, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri
Lanka) Chairman Colonel Prasanna Wickremasuriya told Daily News Business
The Mattala airport, will also stress on having 60 percent of the
flights for cargo and 40 percent for passengers and these ratios will
also be increased with the passage of time.
The emphasis on exports will also be stressed with the passage of
time from the Mattala airport as the government has also felt the need
for the introduction of a second international airport for a long time,
the AASL Chief said.
The government will be using the Mattala airport as a tourism hub
which will afford an opportunity for the passengers who come for
additional tourism programs that will be launched where there will be
lots of value addition to the tourism sector such as the introduction of
surfing while this new airport will also serve the purpose of the
tourists who want to travel up to Nuwara Eliya.
The strategic location of the airport will also be significant in the
light of the Southern Province accounting for 37 percent of Sri Lanka’s
expatriates employed in the Gulf and they will also be enabled to
emplane from Mattala to their destinations in Oman, Dubai and Kuwait.
The Central Environmental Authority has provided the airport the
approval for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and after a
technical study of the area and there are no absolute issues with the
location in sharp contrast to the earlier location of Weerawila which
was seen as detrimental to bird life.
The Chairman also said that the airport would be the only
environmentally friendly airport in South Asia where the government
would also be targeting to get Green Status as well.