Lanka's first sea plane port in Ja-Ela
SriLankan CEO, Manoj Gunawardane
In a bid to meet the future demand for domestic travel from locals
and foreigners, Sri Lanka is building the country's first sea plane
airport at Dadugam Oya Ja-Ela.
SriLankan airlines was planning to use a section of the Negombo
Lagoon for this project, but decided against it as fishermen in the area
pointed out that it may not be conducive to them.
The new float-plane landing strip in Ja-Ela would also have a mini
passenger terminal and also offer hangar facilities for aircraft.
"We are planning to raise the standard of the mini sea plane airstrip
to international level and even allowing private operators to land here.
We also expect sea planes from other countries like the Maldives to land
here," the Minister of Aviation, Priyankara Jayaratne, said.
He said that the proposed Colombo-Katunayake highway too would be
linked to the float-plane airport. "This would enable a passenger from
the Colombo international airport to get to the sea plane port in less
than five minutes."
The Minister said that the future of this airport would also see
immigration and custom offices being set up. "President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has set a target of 2.5 million tourists visiting the country
by 2015 and we are gearing to meet this target more international entry
points to the country are needed to achieve this target."
A SriLankan airlines sea plane
Minister Jayaratne with Chairman Airport Aviation, Prasanna
Wickramasuriya at the Mattala airport
Sri Lanka has entry points at Colombo airport and the harbour, and
the future includes the Ja-Ela, Galle Harbour and Hambantota airport and
CEO SriLankan airlines, Manoj Gunawardane said that the construction
of the seaport has already begun and it is expected to be ready early
June this year.
This is a coordinated effort made by the Ministry of Airport and
Aviation and the Divisional Secretariat. "We will use this to land and
for take off of SriLankan airlines float planes as well," he said.
Gunawardane said that they are also looking at permitting sea planes
to land in the Beira Lake. "We are currently working with the Defence
Ministry in this regard."
Currently Sri Lankan float planes land at 10 points and our aim is to
increase this to 20 by the end of this year.
He said that the launch of Mihin Lanka has made international travel
within the reach of everybody and similarly sea plane travel will be an
economical mode of travel for locals as well.
"We believe this would strengthen the country's tourism industry
attracting up market clientele."
The CEO said that they are looking at obtaining one more sea spot for
operations in two months and were looking at another 15 seater plane.
"We will also be recruiting more pilots and stewardesses, to serve on
Asked if the airline had plans to operate domestic flights he
answered in the negative.
Commenting on the new airport being built at Mattala he said that it
was one of the best things that happened to the local aviation sector.
"We are currently preparing a synergy for the Mattala airport," he said.
He said that the airport would also focus on cargo operations and
they will look into pilot training and other logistics. Commenting on
the flights to Japan he said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen to
provide an uninterrupted service and the airline has not lowered its
frequency. Out-bound traffic from Japan is currently on hold. "This is
common when a country faces problems and it is only a temporary
Air Taxis will give travellers the option of turning a 6-hour road
trip into a 40-minute flight and with the private sector too showing an
interest, operational the cost would come down, enabling everyone to
take a way flight from a long distance destination such as Nuwara Eliya
to another spot.