The Colombo Airport Ratmalana has been developed for its envisioned future, positioning it as an “Exclusive Gateway to Colombo following the commencement of international flights by end this month. State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development, D.V. Chanaka disclosed.
He noted that the International flight would commence from Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana from the 29th of this month. In particular, flights from South India, Male and Bangladesh via India to Ratmalana will be based in Ratmalana Airport.
These facts were revealed during a discussion on the development of Ratmalana Airport held at the State Ministry of Aviation and Export Zones Development in attendance of Secretary to the Ministry Janaka Chandragupta, Chairman of Airports and Aviation Retired Major General GA Chandrasiri, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority Upul Dharmadasa.
Colombo International Airport, Ratmalana was established in 1938 and regional international flights were not operational due to the commencement of flights from Katunayake International Airport in 1968. Mr. Chanaka says that steps have already been taken to launch new regional international flights using the resources available at the Ratmalana Airport.
President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has stated in his policy statement that Sri Lanka would be developed as a regional aviation hub.
Accordingly, two airlines have already agreed to launch regional international flights based on India and the Maldives. He said talks were underway with several other airlines and those talks were positive.
The State Ministry of Aviation and Export Zones Development has taken steps to develop the Ratmalana International Airport in several key areas.
It is also being developed as a local aviation hub, recreational aviation hub and aviation training center. In addition, measures will be taken to promote the bringing of private jets to Sri Lanka targeting high income earners and to meet the requirements of technical and parking services for private jets such as jet refueling.
In addition, promotions are expected to be launched at Ratmalana Airport for international commercial and corporate flights as well as private jet operations.
Action will be taken to bring high income earners to Sri Lanka. Ratmalana Airport also has facilities for technical and parking services for private jets and refueling. State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development DV Chanaka stated that in the future it is expected to promote these services in the world as well.
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) will be looking into the emerging opportunities in order to meet the growing demands in the foreseeable future.
Potential business opportunities such as High End Tourism, foreign investments for Fixed Based Operations (FBO), demand of domestic operators for expansions, growing trends in aviation training in the region, growth of private jet operations, and domestic connectivity to internationally arriving passengers may stress the development needs of Colombo Airport Ratmalana.
Domestic Aviation Hub strategy is focused on promoting the airport for the local, business tourists and connecting destination for international high-end tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
For the implementation of this strategy, it is required to shift SLAF Hangars to the Northern side of the Runway along with structural modifications of the hangars, overlay the Apron and construct a new taxi way etc.
The Ratmalana Airport would also be promoted as a Leisure Flying Center under the Government’s program to develop the Airport as a domestic aviation hub, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
Accordingly, Ratmalana Airport will be developed for leisure flying, wedding photography, drama and cinematography.
The Minister said that new local air routes to tourist attractions and new runways suitable for aircraft would be identified. It is also expected to ease the barriers to flying to such identified locations.
“Besides, we expect to launch promotions for international commercial and corporate flights as well as private jet operations at Ratmalana Airport,” he said.