New Sri Lankan airport opens

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in the southern state of Hambantota was formally inaugurated this week by President Mahinda Rajapaksa - whose family the airport is named in honour of.

The new facility offers the chance for Hambantota - the country's fastest growing region - to capitalise on the country's growing tourism reputation with a 10,000 square metre passenger terminal, 10 aircraft gates and a runway capable of handling the giant Airbus A380.

The airport is built to handle up to one million passengers on 6,000 planes per year, more than enough to accommodate the government's official expectations of 500,000 a year by 2028.

Since the two decade long civil war in Sri Lanka came to an end in 2009, Sri Lanka is quickly developing into one of the most desirable tourism locations in the world; foreign tourism arrivals and economic investment have both soared in the four years since the war ended and the new airport is expected to accelerate that trend.

"The new airport will be a boon to the local aviation industry while being a catalyst for the economic development of the southern province through the enabling of international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment," said a spokesperson for the Airport and Aviation Services Limited which will manage the airport.

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