Mar 18, Hambantota: The first flight, a SriLankan Airlines special flight carrying President Mahinda Rajapaksa just landed at Sri Lanka's newest international airport Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).
President Rajapaksa arrived on board the 'City of Magam Ruhuna' SriLankan Airline UL226 with First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and other dignitaries.
The President, arriving as the first passenger to the new airport, declared open the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport Monday morning.
He unveiled the plaque to mark the opening and signed the golden book as the first visitor. Thereafter the President inspected the airport accompanied by ministers and other officials.
The Mattala Airport, located in the vicinity of the Hambantota Port and the Hambantota International Cricket Stadium is in close proximity to the Yala National Park, Udawalawe Elephant reserve and several religious and historic places.
A convention center, a tax-free zone for aviation industries and an International IT Park are in the works.
The new Airport implemented as an eco-friendly project is expected to boost the economy in the region, provide direct and indirect employment opportunities and accelerate the development in the area.