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* Sri Lanka's second international airport ready to begin operations next month
Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 08:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's second international airport being built at Mattala in Hambantota district of deep south is nearing completion and ready to begin operations next month, civil aviation officials have said.

All constructions of the new airport is 99 percent complete and the airport will be opened with full facilities for air traffic operations on March 18, the officials told the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a special meeting held at Temple Trees Thursday (14) to review the progress of the airport.

The airport in the first stage costs US$ 209 million with funding from Exim Bank of China.

The airport, built on a 2,000 hectare land according to recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, has a 1,000-square meter cargo facility with the capacity of handling 45,000 metric tons of cargo per year.

The new airport when completed will support both international and domestic travel and air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambantota Harbor.

Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne, Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena, Hambantota District parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga also were present at the discussion.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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