The landing of the Emirates A380 aircraft at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) proves that the newly resurfaced runway is suitable for the landing of any aircraft, Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday.
He said several media reports and some politicians had claimed that the runway, resurfaced after 30 years at a cost of Rs.7.2 billion, was not up to international standards and was unsuitable for large aircraft such as an A380 to land on.
The Aviation Ministry said the 3,350-metre-long and 75-metre-wide runway, which was opened for operations in April after a three-month long period of renovation could accommodate an Airbus A380.
“I am happy that all misconceptions will be cleared after the landing of the Emirates A380 aircraft on Monday, helping Sri Lanka and the airport to achieve an aviation milestone. It proves that Sri Lanka now has a runway which could handle any aircraft in the world,” the minister said.
The special one-off Emirates A380 flight EK654 from Dubai had 524 passengers on board.
The minister said Emirates officials had agreed to operate an A380 flight monthly initially from Dubai to Colombo . “It will bring more tourists to the country and help develop the tourism industry as well,” the minister said and added that several development projects had been launched at the BIA under the second phase.
He said the Mattala Airport would be developed to function as a popular airpovrt in the country with a project initiated with the Indian investors to bring aircraft to the MRIA.(Darshana Sanjeewa)