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 Post subject: Sri Lanka to construct second international airport
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:28 am 
Sri Lanka to construct second international airport

Under the first phase the Weerawila international airport would be able to accommodate eight large aircraft at a time. The 1,150-hectare airport will comprise of a 4,000-meter runway, parking space for 14 aircraft at a time and other modern facilities when completed.

@ DM /Monday, November 20, 2006

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday marked his first year in office by launching work on a new international airport to handle the giant Airbus A380 airliner and pledging a major new port.

President Rajapaksa laid the foundation stone for a 125-million-dollar, 4,000-metre (13,200-feet) upgrade to a small airport at Weerawila, which is to become an international terminal by November 2009.

“We are building this second international airport so that A380 planes could land here,” President Rajapaksa said in a nationally-televised ceremony from Weerawila.

National carrier SriLankan Airlines is around 40 percent owned by Dubai-based Emirates, which has ordered 45 A380 planes, making it the largest single client for the outsized, European-built long-haul jet.

He said an average of 180 ships pass Hambantota, and the government hoped to set up a port there to service them with supplies.

At the ceremony, he said the infrastructure development work would not be curtailed by rising defence spending.

“I will not sell the lie. I will not say that development is not possible because of heavy defence expenditure,” President Rajapaksa said. “I am always with you and alert about your problems and do not get misled by false statements and exaggerated progress reports. We all need to work harder to ensure economic progress,” the President said.

He said the allocation of a large amount of money in the recent budget for development of infrastructure facilities without selling any state institutions or any assets of the country is a significant
achievement. “There is no confrontational politics, we now cherish fraternal politics. This was the dream of D. S. Senanayake and S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Unity is essential to build and protect the nation,” the President said.

Minister of Ports and Aviation Mangala Samaraweera, who is also the foreign minister, said that the project costing 125 million U. S. dollars was expected to be completed in the year of 2009.

Under the first phase the Weerawila international airport would be able to accommodate eight large aircraft at a time.

The 1,150-hectare airport will comprise of a 4,000-meter runway, parking space for 14 aircraft at a time and other modern facilities when completed.

At present the island's only international airport, the Bandaranaike international airport, is located at Katunayake, about 40 km north of the capital Colombo.

The extent of the Katunayake airport is 490 hectares. Though well equipped with modern facilities, it can only accommodate 25 aircraft at a time.

The number of planes operated per day from the current airport is approximately 120.


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