Jan 20, Colombo: Anticipating millions of tourist arrivals to the country in the future, the Sri Lankan government has taken measures to increase the passenger handling capacity at the country’s airports.
The government says arrangements have been made to double the passenger handling capacity to 12 million by 2015 from the current capacity of 6 million.
Under an ambitious five-year plan launched last year by the Economic Development Minister to boost tourism in the country, Sri Lanka targets 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016. The country expects to reach a target of one million tourist arrivals this year.
Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka Limited Prasanna Wickramasooriya has said that air cargo handling services will also be increased in parallel to the increase of the passenger handling capacity.
According to the official, country’s second international airport at Mattala in Southern Hambantota district will be opened at the end of 2012.
The new airport will handle 60 percent of air cargo services and 40 percent of passenger services.
The government also plans to expand the present international airport at Katunayake at a cost of Rs. 350 million.
The number of terminals at the airport will be increased from 8 to 16 while facilities will be provided to land 9 aircraft at the airport.
An internal air terminal will be set up in Katunayake airport in par with internal aviation service development in the second phase of expansion project, and tenders for the project will be called in April, the official said.