Mar 15, Colombo: Turning a new leaf in the country's history of aviation, Sri Lanka's second international gateway, Mattala
Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), will be opened to the skies on March 18, by H.E. the President of the
Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Fully geared to take the lead in the new runway, SriLankan Airlines, the country's national carrier, in its mission to take
Sri Lanka to the world, will be flying the inaugural flight to MRIA on March 18, 2013.
During the first phase, SriLankan Airlines will be operating two flights to Riyadh, four to Male, two to Beijing and one
to Shanghai via Bangkok, while there will be two Mihin Lanka flights operating to Bodh Gaya.
"Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport opens up many prospects for SriLankan Airlines to widen its reach while
contributing to the country's development drive. SriLankan's role in MRIA is sure to expand with the arrival of
more airlines and the increase of passenger flow," said SriLankan Airlines' Chairman, Nishantha Wickramasinghe.
"SriLankan Airlines considers it a pride and privilege to be playing a pivotal role in the country's two
international airports in our collective endeavour to make Sri Lanka the aviation hub of South Asia. Taking
a step ahead, Sri Lankan Airlines has recruited and will continue to recruit and train the youth from rural
areas surrounding Mattala thereby encouraging them to take on lucrative careers in aviation," said SriLankan
Airlines' Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena.
SriLankan Airlines will be the sole ground handler at MRIA providing full handing services including passenger
services, baggage services and cargo handling for charters and privately owned aircraft. All the staff
for MRIA were recruited from the Hambantota district and were given a six-months training at
Bandaranaike International Airport. SriLankan will also post experienced staff from BIA for the
initial operations for a period of one year.
SriLankan Cargo will manage MRIA's 5,000-square meter cargo facility, with the capacity of handling
60,000 metric tons. It is equipped with facilities to store live animals, dangerous goods, temperature
regulated goods, customs and quarantine cargo, with special provisions for valuable cargo, weighing
facility up to 15000kg, and screening machines.
Meanwhile, all Line Maintenance requirements at MRIA for Airbus A300, A320, A330, A340 and Boeing
737 aircraft, including support for other operators' aircraft will be provided by SriLankan Engineering.
A subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering (SLC) will be in full command of the Flight
Kitchen of MRIA supplying food and beverages to Transit Restaurant, Business Class Lounge and the
Public Restaurant. Staffed by 52 employees recruited from the region, these SLC restaurants
will also be utilizing maximum possible local produce in all catering requirements.
Built on a 2,000 hectare land as a green project, MRIA will not only serve as the ideal
gateway to the tourists who dream of beach holidays and safaris in the nearby sanctuaries,
but also it will be a convenient destination to the domestic travellers from the region
who arrive from or depart for the Middle East. Strategically situated in the heart of
south which attracts many investors, MRIA is expected to contribute to the economic
development of the entire region and the country thus bettering the lives its citizens.
Having sustained so far with only one commercial aviation hub, the opening of MRIA would
not have come at a better time than now, in the face of growing tourist arrivals and
foreign investments. With the unprecedented development drive that came in the wake of
the conclusion of war, MRIA will also change people's perception of air-travel, as it will
call the flights home, instead of directing them to the city to board a flight.
With the opening of MRIA, SriLankan Airlines will play a key role in the national mission
to make Sri Lanka one of the most frequented destinations in the world.
PR:Corporate Communications Department
15th , March 2013