Sri Lanka airport to acquire land for runway as traffic grows

Apr 19, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s international airport is to acquire 100 hectares of land to build a parallel runway required to handle growing aircraft traffic that could soon saturate existing capacity, an official said. Aircraft now fly to Sri Lanka with extra fuel in case they have to divert to airports in India or the Maldives if the Katunayake runway is closed in an emergency. A post-war economic and tourism boom has led to an increase in the number of airlines flying to the island as well as in the frequency of flights.

Johanne Jayaratne, executive director of Airports and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka), a state agency which operates airports, said increasing traffic made the need for a parallel runway at the island’s sole international airport at Katunayake more urgent.

He said 32 airlines now use the airport, just north of Colombo, with Aeroflot expected to resume flights soon.

The airport now handles 3,354 monthly scheduled flights, excluding charter flights, he told a recent forum.

The single runway has a capacity of 42,000 aircraft movements a year.

“We’re now doing over 30,000 and will be close to maximum capacity,” Jayaratne said.

That made it important to go ahead with build