Turning a new leaf in the country's history of aviation, Sri Lanka's second international gateway, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), will be opened to the skies on March 18, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
SriLankan Airlines, the country's national carrier, will be flying the inaugural flight to MRIA on March 18, 2013.
During the first phase, SriLankan Airlines will be operating two flights to Riyadh, four to Male, two to Beijing and one to Shanghai via Bangkok, while there will be two Mihin Lanka flights operating to Bodh Gaya.
"Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport opens up many prospects for SriLankan Airlines to widen its reach while contributing to the country's development drive. SriLankan's role in MRIA is sure to expand with the arrival of more airlines and the increase of passenger flow," said SriLankan Airlines' Chairman, Nishantha Wickramasinghe.
SriLankan Airlines will be the sole ground handler at MRIA providing full handing services including passenger services, baggage services and cargo handling for charters and privately owned aircraft.
SriLankan Cargo will manage MRIA's 5,000-square meter cargo facility, with the capacity of handling 60,000 metric tons. It is equipped with facilities to store live animals, dangerous goods, temperature regulated goods, customs and quarantine cargo, with special provisions for valuable cargo, weighing facility up to 15000kg, and screening machines.
Meanwhile, all Line Maintenance requirements at MRIA for Airbus A300, A320, A330, A340 and Boeing 737 aircraft, including support for other operators' aircraft will be provided by SriLankan Engineering.
A subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering (SLC) will be in full command of the Flight Kitchen of MRIA supplying food and beverages to Transit Restaurant, Business Class Lounge and the Public Restaurant. Staffed by 52 employees recruited from the region, these SLC restaurants will also be utilizing maximum possible local produce in all catering requirements.