Aug 15, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Katunayake saw an Emirates A380 aircraft make a one off landing, helping Sri Lanka and the airport achieve an aviation milestone, Monday.
Arranged to celebrate the BIA’s recently resurfaced and upgraded runway, the special one-off A380 flight operated as EK654 from Dubai, replacing the B777 aircraft usually deployed by Emirates on flights to Sri Lanka.
Transport and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the arrival of the craft marked a great occasion for Sri Lanka as it entered a new era of air connectivity.
“There was a lot of criticism when BIA’s runway was refurbished and doubts about whether it could handle A380s.”
“This highlights the capacity of handling services including customs, immigration and security services at the airport.”
The aircraft was on the ground for more than six hours to enable airport executives, VIPs, trade partners and the media to enjoy guided tours of its cabins and unique amenities like its first-class suites, shower spas and on-board lounge
Given the Sri Lanka government’s focus on developing tourism, this is an important development. for local aviation enthusiasts and is a matter of pride that their airport has joined the ranks of leading international airports in the A380 league.
Ahmed Khoory of Emirates said that for BIA, this event signals that it is ‘A380 ready,’.
“This one-off flight reflects the strong relationship we have with the market and our commitment to the destination. It signifies that, when demand for the destination grows, as it definitely will, to the point that scheduled A380 flights are feasible, Emirates will be ready to operate one.” .
Emirates is the world’s largest A380 operator with 96 aircraft already in its fleet and a further 46 on order.
The airline commenced operations to Sri Lanka in April 1986 and operates a total of 34 flights a week from Colombo — 27 flights westward to Malé and Dubai and seven eastward to Singapore connecting on-wards to Melbourne, Australia.