Oct 22, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently visited the country's second international airport, which is nearing completion at Mattala in Hambantota district, to inspect the construction of the buildings and the runway.
The President, when inquired about the progress of the work and future requirements, has been informed that the air field lighting system that guides the pilots and the signaling equipment in the control tower and the air field are being installed now.
Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services LTD Prasanna Wickramasuriya has explained to the President that a team from the Civil Aviation Services Authority in Pakistan has tested the installed equipment and found to be successfully functioning.
When the certification of the equipment is received from international authorities the all airlines will be informed officially, Wickramasuriya has said.
A twin-engine Beechcraft Super king test aircraft belongs to Pakistan Civil Aviation Department successfully landed on the new runway last Tuesday to test air travel control instruments installed at the Mattala Airport.
The construction work of the Airport would be completed at the end of this year and its commercial operation will be launched early January 2013, Wickramasuriya has said.
A Chinese firm with financing from China is building Sri Lanka's second airport while Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority conducts the testing of the equipment.
The government says that the expatriate workers from the country's south and foreign tourists who visit the south will mainly be benefited by the Mattala international airport.
Ministers Priyankara Jayaratne, Johnston Fernando, C.B. Ratnayake, Rajitha Senaratne, Mahinda Amaraweera, Hambantota district parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa were also present at the occasion.
(Photos by Chandana Perera)