The Palaly Airport which had been upgraded to Sri Lanka’s third international airport would be opened today with flights operating from November 1, the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry said. A spokesman from the Ministry said construction of the project had already been completed.
‘Alliance Air’ - a subsidiary of Air India will send its inaugural flight to the Jaffna International Airport this morning.
After the inauguration of the Palaly International Airport, flight services between Jaffna and Chennai will operate as it was the closest airport to South India, the official said.
The construction project was carried out by both the Road Development Authority (RDA) and Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd.
President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu will take part at the inauguration, the Ministry official said. Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation had renamed the Palaly Airport as the Jaffna International Airport on October 3.
The airport had been upgraded as a regional airport to handle international flights especially to South Indian cities under the first stage.
The first 950 metres of the runway was repaved to accommodate Bombardier C100 planes with a seating capacity of 72 recently. Under the second stage, the existing runway will be further extended by another 1.5 metres. Under the third stage, the runway is to be expanded to 2.3 km and it will handle large passenger aircraft such as the Airbus AL- 320 and AL-321.
Accordingly, the number of international airports in the country had been increased to five. (Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Ratmalana International Airport, Jaffna International Airport, Batticaloa International Airport and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Mattala) (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)