Aug 02, Colombo: Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva states that the Ratmalana Airport, being the first international airport in Sri Lanka, will be developed under a long term development program.
The Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry plans to implement a Master Development Plan incorporating strategic plans to be implemented from 2018 to 2030 targeting the needs of 2030 to provide efficient domestic and international flight services.
A special discussion was held at the Ratmalana Airport Thursday under the patronage of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on implementing the Master Development Plan.
At the meeting ideas were exchanged with the operators in the aviation sector on the problems that may arise during the implementation of the plan.
Addressing the meeting, the Minister said the government's plan is to develop state-of-the-art international and domestic air services and it is allocated to spend Rs. 1.479 billion for the project.
Out of the total cost, Rs. 650 million will be provided by the Civil Aviation Authority and Rs. 829 million by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the implementation of the long-term plan on February 14 this year.
The Ratmalana Airport, being the first international airport in Sri Lanka was operating as the major international airport up to the year 1969.
The airport which has been located very close to the major commercial city in Colombo, with easy access to all the main roads, presently operates around 70 domestic aircraft movements per day, the airport serves domestic aviation needs including commercial passenger flights, Aviation Training, International Commercial Aircrafts and the arrangement of VIP and VVIP movements, humanitarian missions during national crisis situations and conducts the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) operational activities, as well.
During the war, the airport was used mainly for Sri Lanka Air Force operations and after the war ended in 2009, it was re-opened for civil aviation services.
The number of flight operations conducted are rapidly increasing and to suit the situation, considering the Colombo centered development projects, the existing capacity of the airport is required to be improved, the Minister said in his proposal to the cabinet.
The Master Plan aims to develop facilities at the airport to meet regional needs targeting services to the Maldives and other South Asian countries.
This development process includes the provision of modern aviation facilities and operations to cater to the international business community that will arrive in Sri Lanka after the completion of Colombo Port City Project and services to high level tourists arriving in private aircraft and hangars for their aircraft.
It is also expected to establish necessary pilot training programs for pilots, airmen engineers in the region
Airport and Aviation Services believe the Investments in this development process will be earned within six years.