By Reka Tharangani
The closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for part of the day for much-needed renovations and construction has directed international flights not just to the airport in Mattala but also to the one in Ratmalana.
The first international airport in the country, Ratmalana airport, now provides facilities for more than 80 flights that have used the premises since January.
Airport Manager Aruna Rajapakse said the airport provided better facilities in terms of location and customs services.
“We don’t have as many passengers as BIA. So we clear passengers through customs and other security measures faster,” he said.
The airport located closer to hotels and other tourist destinations had also played a part in increasing the number of tourists and passengers using the airport, Mr. Rajapakse claimed.
Flights to and from Bangkok, India, Indonesia, Switzerland and France used the Ratmalana International Airport. In addition to the number of international flights now using the airport, domestic flight operators also used the airport regularly.
Mr. Rajapakse pointed out that 11 of the 15 domestic flight operators used the Ratmalana airport at present.