Until recently Sri Lanka had only one international airport, the well-known Bandaranaike Airport of the capital Colombo, located close to Negombo in the village Katunayake. But this changed on the 18th of March 2013, when the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport was opened near Hambantota, therefore Sri Lanka's second international airport is also called Hambantota International Airport. This airport is designed to facilitate for over 800 foreign passengers at peak hours. It's Sri Lanka’s only airport compatible with the world’s largest passenger aircraft, Airbus A380. The airport is being constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company. Mattala Rajapakse International Airport (MRIA) is operated by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd (AASL), also operating Colombo International Airport and providing air navigation services in Sri Lanka.
In the longer run, the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport may become attractive for tourists, too, because it’s closer to the island’s beach resorts and most beloved national parks than Colombo’s Bandaranike International Airport. At present, domestic carriers offer charter flights to Ratmalana Airport and Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. Internationally, MRIA is predominantly connected with the Middle East. But the busiest international destination Dubai is closely followed by Bangkok. Currently there are 4 international airline carriers that are using the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.
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