Colombo International Airport to undergo major expansion

Sri Lanka is a country on the move, and while the western world is experiencing frightful economic times, Sri Lanka is seeing steady economic development and ascendance from a third-world nation into a middle-income economy (2nd world) within the last year.

After completely annihilating the ruthless Tamil Tigers who waged a blood thirsty separatist war for 30 year in May 2009, Sri Lanka has rapidly set upon the task of developing the war ravaged northern and eastern regions of the country. The whole country too is reaping the benefits of peace time, with new infrastructure projects including a large sea port and an international airport being built in Hambantota, in the deep south of the country.

Tourism has benefited hugely since the end of the war too and foreign investments are pouring in to the sector. Infrastructure development in the sector is booming and with it there is also a need to update the existing Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake. Phase one of the expansion has already begun, and is now nearing completion. A second phase of expansion to the existing facilities at Katunayake is to begin in 2012 with an aim to increase both passenger and cargo handling capacity.

The second phase to begin in 2012 is estimated at USD350 million and will include the widening of the existing runway and taxiways, mainly to accommodate the Airbus A380 aircraft. A new state-of-the-art passenger terminal is also being built with separate sections for arrivals and departures. The new terminal will feature 8 boarding gates, 16 boarding bridges and a separate dedicated gate with 2 further passenger boarding bridges specifically for A380 services.

The expansion is designed to double the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 12 million, while also expanding cargo handling capacity to 500.000m from existing 250.000m.

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