Oct 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says Jaffna, the capital city of the Northern Province will no doubt return to its pre-war normalcy and become an economic hub in the region within the next five years.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe made this observation at the opening ceremony of the Jaffna International Airport today in Palaly.
The opening ceremony of the Jaffna International Airport was held this morning under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister said the development of the former military airport that was limited only to the discussions for the last 30 years with no work started, was completed within a year and opened for the aviation services.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe pointed out that there was no large-scale expenditure on the construction of the Jaffna International Airport and it is planned to earn the money spent within a year.
"For about 20 to 30 years we had discussions about providing an international airport to Jaffna. It must be said that all those discussions were confined to words. But in April last year we were able to discuss the Jaffna International Airport. Accordingly, after the Passover attack, the relevant Cabinet paper was presented in May. Some questioned whether such a project could be started with the situation in the country at the time. We decided to do this somehow and we were able to provide an international airport within six months."
"Today we just opened the first phase of the Jaffna International Airport. According to Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, several other phases have to be developed. In the second phase, we will have the opportunity to land the A320 aircraft after extending the runway. Accordingly, flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand will be available to Jaffna."
The Premier said large amounts of money were not spent on the construction of the airport and its buildings. "We were able to build this building within a few months. The money spent on it can be earned within a year."
"There is no doubt that in the next five years Jaffna will return to its original status and become an economic center," the Premier said.