Bandaranaike International Airport

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Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) (also known as Katunayake International AirportNegombo International Airport and Colombo International Airport) (IATACMBICAOVCBI) is one of the two international airports serving the city of Colombo, the other is Ratmalana Airport(Colombo City Airport). Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport located in southern city of Hambantota is the other international airport in Sri Lanka. Bandaranaike International Airport is located in Katunayake, 22 miles (35 km) north of Colombo. It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. It is the hub of SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and Mihin Lanka, the budget airline of Sri Lanka.


The airport began as a Royal Air Force airfield in 1944 during the Second World WarRAF Station Negombo

In 1957 it closed as the British left the island, and SWRD Bandaranaike removed all the British Military airfields from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the airfield was handed over to the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) and renamed Katunayake. Part of it still remains an military airfield.

In 1964 Anil Moonesinghe, the Cabinet Minister of Communications, started the building of a new international airport to replace Ratmalana, withCanadian aid. The airport was completed in 1967, and Air Ceylon, the national carrier, began international operations from it using a Hawker Siddeley Trident and a leased British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) VC-10.

It was named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, in 1970. It was renamed Katunayake International Airport in 1977, but was changed back to Bandaranaike International Airport in 1995.

On 7 November 1971 the first Boeing 747 landing took place, the Boeing 747-200B was operated by Condor was carrying German tourists fromFrankfurt.

In the early 1990s the position of the airport’s runway (04/22) was shifted northward and the old runway was made into a taxiway for departing and arriving aircraft.

Airport expansion projects have recently been undertaken at the airport under the Stage 1, Phase II Expansion Project. A pier with eight aero-bridgesopened in November 2005. A new terminal with an additional eight gates are proposed to be built under Stage II of the Phase II Expansion Project. Construction of the new Stage II, Phase II Expansion Project is expected to commence in 2014 and is expected to be completed in December 2015.

On 7 May 2007 the Sri Lankan Government decided to shift some military aviation operations out of the space adjoining the airport to SLAF Hingurakgoda, thus paving the way for more civilian operations.

As part of the airport development program, a passenger train service was launched between the Airport and Colombo Secretariat Station, in June 2010. They also unveiled plans to extend the Colombo-Katunayake airport express train to Ratmalana International Airport.

The airport is used by Emirates as an alternative emergency airport for its Airbus A380 aircraft.

Bandaranaike International Airport is equipped with 6 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing Airbus A380 service. Emirates is the first airline that will introduce the A380 to Colombo, when the airline will deploy the A380 on its daily Dubai-Colombo service.

On 9 January 2012, an Airbus A380-800 operated by Emirates flight EK 413 from Sydney landed at Bandaranaike International Airport. This was the first time in history that an Airbus A380 had landed in a Sri Lankan airport. EK 413 had taken-off from Sydney en route to Dubai, but needed a refueling stop. Originally planned to refuel at Singapore, it was decided to land in Colombo instead. The exact cause as to why the A380 needed to refuel is not known.

On July 26, The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka police set up a new security system at the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake to identify criminals. The new system is expected to help identify the most wanted criminals.

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