Mar 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with pomp and pageantry will declare open the country's new Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport tomorrow.
The religious ceremonies prior to the opening of the Airport began Saturday with an all-night Pirith chanting ceremony and an alms giving for Maha Sangha Sunday.
The second international airport in the deep south of Sri Lanka will host four international airlines initially and authorities are currently negotiating with several more international carriers. The airport will start aviation operations on the first day of opening.
According to the Chairman of the Airport and Civil Aviation Company Prasanna Wickramasuriya the airport targets one million passengers during its first year of operations.
The new airport completed as an eco-friendly project with US$ 209 million funding from Exim Bank of China is equipped with all required facilities for an international airport.
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.
Mattala Airport's close proximity to the Yala National Wildlife Park, the Kumana Birds Sanctuary, beaches on the southeastern coast and the nearby historic religious places will be an attractive feature for the visitors who would be visiting southern part of Sri Lanka.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation says the airport will create a number of direct and indirect job opportunities in the region and will bring development to the Eastern, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces as well.