Sri Lanka’s second international airport, the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) commenced operation with the landing of a Sri Lankan Airline flight with the President onboard a short while ago.
The Airport was commissioned at the auspicious time of 10.54 a.m. with SriLankan flight UL 226 carrying President Mahinda Rajapaksa, first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and a few cabinet ministers touched down at the newly laid runway.
It was followed by Air Arabia flight GO-508 from Sarjah and Air Dubai flight AZ 88-55 from the United States.
The MRIA has the capacity to handle one million passengers a year and the 3,500-metre runway can accommodate large passenger aircraft such as Airbus 380. This provides the opportunity for national carrier SriLankan and Mihin Air to forge ahead with greater strength and confidence, Deputy Civil Aviation Minister Geetanjana Gunawardana said.
Pictures - Sudath Silva