Sri Lanka's second international airport at Mattala in Hambantota is nearing completion and ready to begin operations next month, civil aviation officials told President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a special meeting held at Temple Trees yesterday (14) to review the progress of the airport.
Construction work is 99 percent complete and the airport will be opened with full facilities for air traffic operations on March 18.
President Rajapaksa said development projects should be in place only after realizing the true meaning of development initiatives being carried out by the government aiming to develop rural areas of the country.
He instructed officials to identify young and talented youths in villages and train them to find lucrative employment opportunities in Naval and aviation fields. The officials were also instructed to implement a pragmatic policy and proper mechanism to purchase agri - products directly from the rural masses to be utilized for aviation and Naval services.
President Rajapaksa pointing out the possible cultural changes when undergoing mega - development projects of this calibre, warned officials to be vigilant and alert on the country's cultural values.
The airport, built on a 2,000 hectare land according to the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, has a 1,000-square meter cargo facility with the capacity of handling 45,000 metric tons of cargo per year.
The new airport when completed will support both international and domestic travel and air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambantota Harbor.