Special flight from US to arrive at inauguration of Mattala International Airport

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A special flight hosting a powerful delegation of officials from the US will arrive at the Mattala International Airport from Dubai during the inauguration ceremony of Sri Lanka’s second international airport on 18 March this year.

Hosting a large number of ambassadors, diplomats, travel writers, journalists, business delegations, government officials, Sri Lankan-Americans, and people travelling from countries outside the United States, the flight will arrive at the inauguration ceremony through a special flight organised by Emirates.

Prearranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC, the flight will gather all passengers in Dubai. Travellers departing from the United States for the special celebration will leave the US on 16 March and will reach Dubai from any of the destinations in which Emirates operates in the US (Washington DC, New York, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.) The group will meet in Dubai and travel to Sri Lanka in a special flight arranged by Emirates.

International travellers who wish to make the flight will also meet the group in Dubai.

The flight will depart from Dubai for Mattala International Airport on the morning of 18 March and will arrive during the inauguration ceremony, which will broadcast live. After the official ceremony, travellers can either opt to come to Colombo in luxury buses provided free of charge and then return on their own scheduled departing from Katunayake International Airport. These travellers will only pay for the flight, which will be discounted and cost less than a typical Emirates flight.

Travellers can also choose to coordinate with the embassy and set up a 10-day tour in the country. Those who choose to do this will plan to depart from Katunayake International Airport on 27 March. These travellers will pay for the flight – which will be discounted and cost less than a typical Emirates flight – and pay for hotels, transport, and accommodations for the tour. The embassy is currently working on arranging a special price for these travellers.

The Mattala International Airport is part of the Government’s Greater Hambantota Development Program designed under the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ to uplift the economic activities of the region. The construction work of the airport started in November 2009.

The new airport is expected to 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.

The new airport, spanning a total of 2,000 hectares will be geared to support both international and domestic travel, air-sea cargo transhipment in conjunction with the Hambantota sea port, and will be the alternative to BIA.

The amount spent on the entire project is approximately US$ 200 million and has been constructed with the financial assistance from the Chinese Government.