Sri Lanka aviation expert slams govt international airport plan

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Aug 29, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka risks losing a race with south Indian airports to become an aviation hub in south Asia owing to misguided plans by politicians to build a second international airport, an aviation expert has warned.

As this requires that the largest aircraft should be able to land, a runway 4,000 metres long and 60 metres wide to accommodate the Airbus A380, the largest commercial aircraft flying, has to be constructed.

“Runways at two different locations will NOT make a hub of either airport,” Athulathmudali warned, referring to government plans to build a second international airport in the southern Hambantota district.

The government recently abandoned plans to build the airport at Weerawila, even after politicians laid a foundation stone with great fanfare, after protests from farmers who stood to lose arable farming land.

A new location has been chosen in the same district.

Athulathmudali said that having both runways at the same airport, subject to the runways being well separated, will provide an optimum solution for the country.

Closing the existing runway at the Katunayake international airport even for short periods for construction purposes is unacceptable to international a