The Colombo Airport Ratmalana has been developed for its envisioned future, positioning it as an “Exclusive Gateway to Colombo, Sri Lanka’ according priority to promote it as a high end tourism hub with leisure flying and other recreational facilities.
Colombo Airport Ratmalana has great potential to contribute to the growth of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) will be looking into the emerging opportunities in order to meet the growing demands in the foreseeable future.
Potential business opportunities such as High End Tourism, foreign investments for Fixed Based Operations (FBO), demand of domestic operators for expansions, growing trends in aviation training in the region, growth of private jet operations, and domestic connectivity to internationally arriving passengers may stress the development needs of Colombo Airport Ratmalana.
Domestic Aviation Hub strategy is focused on promoting the airport for the local, business tourists and connecting destination for international high-end tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
For the implementation of this strategy, it is required to shift SLAF Hangars to the Northern side of the Runway along with structural modifications of the hangars, overlay the Apron and construct a new taxi way etc.
The Ratmalana Airport would also be promoted as a Leisure Flying Center under the Government's program to develop the Airport as a domestic aviation hub, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
Accordingly, Ratmalana Airport will be developed for leisure flying, wedding photography, drama and cinematography.
The Minister said that new local air routes to tourist attractions and new runways suitable for aircraft would be identified. It is also expected to ease the barriers to flying to such identified locations.
“Besides, we expect to launch promotions for international commercial and corporate flights as well as private jet operations at Ratmalana Airport,” he said.
The Ratmalana Airport, which was closed due to Covid 19, was reopened to the public on January 1, according to health guidelines.
A total of 16,511 flights were operated from Ratmalana Airport out of which 432 were domestic flights as of March 31 from January 1.
A total of 10,332 flights have been conducted for pilot training and 6,006 flights have been conducted by the Sri Lanka Air Force.
Minister Ranatunga said that the domestic flights that were stopped at the Ratmalana Airport were expected to resume following the Corona vaccination.
He said special relief would be offered for companies looking to operate flights from Ratmalana Airport.
“Parking charges for flights have been temporarily suspended for one year. Besides, the airport service tax levied on passengers has also been suspended for one year,” he said.