Airport

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Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) (also known as the Hambantota International Airport) (IATA: HRI, ICAO: VCRI) is an international airport serving the city of Hambantota in southeast Sri Lanka.Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is Sri Lanka’s third international airport, after Bandaranaike International Airport and Colombo City Airport. It serves as the secondary hubs for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. It is named after the Rajapaksa family. It is the newest and most developing airport in Sri Lanka. It is also the first greenfieldairport in the country.

The new international airport is expected to expand the local aviation industry whilst being a catalyst for the country’s economic development enabling international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment. It is being implemented as an eco-friendly project. The airport is estimated to cost US $210 million and, by the end of construction, will cover 2,000 hectares. It is being built to be compatible with the latest Airbus A380 aircraft and has been designed according to recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. According to Sri Lankan government officials, many international airlines such as Air Hybrid, Fly Emirates, Enter Air, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and TUIfly have shown interests in flying to Mattala HRI in the near future.Air Arabia, the first international airline to fly to MRIA, is considering returning after they stoped their daily service a while back.

The airport is designed to facilitate for over 800 foreign passengers at peak hours and several local passengers per every 1000 km² in side the buildings.It will be made to support air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the nearby Hambantota Port, which is about 15 miles away, and would act as an alternative to the Bandaranaike International Airport from the date of its completion. The Chinese government is providing financial assistance for the project.The airport is being constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company and that is their first airport construction project ever taken.The airport is operated by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd whom also provides the air navigation services in Sri Lanka.

The airport was declared open by the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on 18 March 2013 and commenced operations with the landing of a SriLankan Airlines special Airbus A340 flight named ‘City of Magam Ruhunupura’ with the President on board.

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It handled nearly 6000 passengers in the first two months after opening. The busiest international destination is Dubai closely followed Bangkok in Thailand.
Domestic carriers Helitours and Cinnamon Air connects the airport with Ratmalana Airport and Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo