By Abdul H. Azeez
The government will construct a viewing deck at the site of the Maththala airport to facilitate public viewing of its construction. Sri Lanka’s second international airport is to be constructed in phases and phase one is set to be completed in December 2012 at a total cost of USD 260 million.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Media Secretary of the Ministry of Ports and Aviation Chaminda Karunarathna said that ‘many people like to see the construction of the airport. To most of them, this is something entirely new. This was evidenced by the huge crowds that were attracted to the construction site of the Hambantota harbour.’
The airport will be Sri Lanka’s second international airport and will feature a runway 3.5 kilometers in length and 75 meters in width. At the end of the first phase the airport will be capable of handling four aircraft at the same time.
The cost of the viewing deck was included in the initial contract to build the airport and it will be converted to an airport viewing gallery after its construction is complete. It will be open for public use in November 2010.
The new airport is largely funded by the government of China through a soft loan. It is being constructed on a plot of 2,000 hectares in the Hambanthota District. It will be aimed at providing services similar to the Katunayake airport and it is also set to accommodate domestic travel and air-sea cargo in conjunction with the Hambantota Harbour.