Sri Lanka Aviation History

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06.01.2017 : Commencement of resurfacing programme of the BIA runway by closing it for commercial operations between 0830 hrs and 1630 daily for a continuous period of three months ending on 06.04.2017. Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation launched the work by waving a green flag.

The AASL has selected through approved competitive procurement process the following consultant and contractor for the runway resurfacing with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Project consultant : Joint Venture of Netherlands Airport Consultant (NACO) and Engineering Consultancy Ltd (ECL) for Design Review and Construction Supervision and  the Consultant fee : US$ 524,141 + Tax + Rs.28,725,000 + Tax.

Project Contractor: Joint Venture of China National Aero Technology International Engineering Group (CATIC) and Shanghai New Era Airport Design and Research Institute Co. Ltd. of Civil Aviation Authority of China for the runway overlay and associated work in the form of Design and Build contract. Contract amount: US$ 48,600,406 + Tax

Total Cost: The total cost of runway resurfacing is estimated to be Rs.7.2 billion and it will be financed totally by the Airports and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd.

06.04.2017 : Resumption BIA runway operations after completion of the resurfacing programme, as planned.  SriLankan A320 Neo brand new aircraft landed after Hon.Minister declared the runway was open for normal operations.

53rd Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation was held in Sri Lanka from 01-05 August 2015, at Hilton Colombo.

53rd Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation - Asia and Pacific Region  01-05 August 2016 
Opening of Batticaloa airport after resurfacing by His Excellency the President  
Signing of Contract for resurfacing of BIA Runway  

2015.12.14 - Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation laid the foundation for the construction of CAA Headquarters at Katunayake BIA premises. The estimated cost of the building is Rs.803 million.


2015.01.17 - SriLankan Airlines stopped all commercial operations into and out of Mattala Rajapakse International Airport, Hambantota.

2015.01.25 - Mihin Lanka Ltd suspends all operations into and out of Mattala Rajapakse International Airport.

2015.02.11 - Air China airlines commence four weekly direct flights from Chengdu to Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo using Airbus A330 aircraft .



20.10.2014- Seth Pirith chanting ceremony at Weerawila Bungalow in preparation for official opening

09.06.2014 - Opening of CAA office at MRIA by the Minister of Civil Aviation Hon.Piyankara Jayaratne

22.06.2014 - Ceremonial inauguration of the aviation refueling terminal with fuel hydrant facilities at MRIA by the President, His Execllency Mahinda Rajapakse


18.03.2013 – Opening of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport


Sri Lanka commemorates Centenary of Aviation in Sri Lanka

08.01.2012 Landing of Emirates A380 aircraft at Bandaranaike International Airport

24.05.2012 ICAO conducted an Audit on Aviation Security Oversight capabilities of Sri Lanka
16.10.2012 The first aircraft engaged in flight calibration landed at Mattala International Airport

07.12.2012 Centenary celebration of Aviation in Sri Lanka
2012 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 6.2 M, 200 metric tons and 43,600 respectively
2011 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 6,000,000, 200 metric tons and 43,600 respectively
04.02.2011 Civil Aviation Act No.10 of 2010 was enforced
25.04.2011 Laying of foundation stone for the construction of passenger terminal at Mattala airport with capacity 1 million passenger per annum
2010 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft movements in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 5,000,000, 167 metric tons and 35,000 respectively
06.07.2010 The Government of Sri Lanka bought Emirates stakes in Sri Lankan
24.10.2010 ICAO Audit on Safety Oversight capabilities of Sri Lanka
24.10.2010 ICAO conducted an Audit on the Safety Oversight capabilities of Sri Lanka
    “SriLankan” Airlines recommenced “Air Taxi” service

20.02.2009 LTTE terrorists attacked the Colombo city by two light aircraft
27.11.2009 Launch of the Project for the construction of international airport at Mattala, Hambantota

24.04.2007 – Commencement of commercial flights by Mihin Lanka Ltd

27.10.2006 Birth of Mihin Lanka as as a fully State owned Company fully funded by the General Treasury

15.11.2005 Bandaranaike International Airport expansion projects under the Stage 1, PhaseII Expansion Project opened with a pier with eight aero-bridges


30.11.2004 ICAO Audit on Safety Oversight Capabilities of Sri Lanka
2004 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 4,000,000, 152 metric tons and 30,000 respectively
    “Sri Lankan” airlines commenced float plane operations as “Air Taxi” to selected water aerodromes around the country

2003 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft movements in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 3,000,000, 112 metric tons and 22,500 respectively
27.12.2002 Abolition of the Department of Civil Aviation and establishment of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka under Act No.34 of 2002

24.01.2001 LTTE infiltrated into the Katunayake Air Force base and destroyed eight military aircraft on the Air Force side and two Airbus A340, one Airbus A330 aircraft and one Airbus 320-200 aircraft

13.03.2000 – ICAO Audit on Safety Oversight Capabilities of Sri Lanka

24.03.2000 – AN 12 aircraft of “Sky Cabs” airline crashed at Kadirana near Negombo

01.04.1998 Emirates took over control of AirLanka under a management agreement of 10years with the Government

29.09.1998 AN-24 aircraft leased by Lion Air flight 602, with 55 persons onboard went missing exactly ten minutes after takeoff from Jaffna Airport

10.02.1997 ICAO conduct an Assessment on the Safety Oversight capabilities of Sri Lanka
14.09.1995 Commissioning of Secondary Mono pulse Surveillance Radar (SSR) at Mount Pidurutalagala
1995 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 2,000,000, 76 metric tons; and 16,500 respectively
1995 Katunayake International Airport was renamed as Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo

1994 – Registered airline in Sri Lanka were permitted to commence operations to domestic airports.

1993 “Sky Cabs” started international cargo services by using AN12 aircraft and it was the first Sri Lanka registered private airline which commenced international operations

1992 Amendment of the Air Navigation Act for elevation of the Post of Director of Civil Aviation to Director General of Civil Aviation
    “Air Lanka” added it’s first “Airbus” aircraft to the fleet and registered as “4R –ABA”. It was a A320 aircraft.

1990 – Liberalization of carriage of air freight

03.05.1986 Explosion of Air Lanka TriStar L-1011 aircraft at BIA by the LTTE terrorists killing14 passengers onboard

22.11.1986 Concord, the world’s first supersonic aircraft operated by British Airways landed at Bandaranaike International Airport during its round-the world flight
October 1986 Opening of the new runway for commercial operations

1984 – Commencement of construction of new runway at Katunayake Airport

1983 Abolition of the Airports Authority and Appointment of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd., for development, operation and maintenance of civil airports including provision of Air Navigation Services
1982 Total movement of passengers, cargo and aircraft in and out of Sri Lanka exceeded 1,000,000, 50 metric tons and 11,000 respectively
1982 Enactment of Air Navigation (Special Provisions) Act No.2 of 1982 making provisions appointment of Agent
30.06.1982 Alitalia B747 aircraft with 340 passengers, high jacked by Sri Lankan landed at Bangkok International Airport

1980 Enactment of Airports Authority Act No. 46 of 1979 Establishment of Airports Authority for development, operation and maintenance of civil airports

01.09.1979 – Birth of Air Lanka and its inaugural flight to Bangkok

15.11.1978 Icelandic Airlines DC-8 accident at Kimbulapitiya killing 184 out of 264 persons onboard

07.11.1978 Explosion of Air Ceylon HS-748 aircraft by LTTE terrorists at Ratmalana Airport

1976 Commissioning of Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) at Bandaranaike International Airport in preparation for non-Aligned Nations Conference
04.12.1974 Martin Air DC-8 aircraft accident at Seven Virgin Hills at Maskeliya killing 191 persons onboard

1972 - Sri Lanka Air Force registered a company called “Helitours” to promote tourism industry

11.09.1971 Boeing Jumbo jet (B747) operated by Condor German Airline landed at Colombo International Airport

15.11.1968 – Opening of the Katunayake Airport for international flights

1963 Commencement of development of Katunayake Airport with the financial assistance by the Canadian Government, which includes extension of runway from 1840 metres to 3368 metres and construction of a terminal building with a capacity of 150,000 passengers per year

1960 – Commencement Upali Air, first domestic airliner in Sri Lanka

1958 – Air Ceylon entered into partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

01.11.1957 – Handing over of Katunayake Royal Airbase to Sri Lanka by the British Government

1955 – Promulgation of Air Navigation Regulations of 1955

1951 Incorporation of Air Ceylon with 51% shares owned by the Government and 49% by Australian National Airways
06.11.1950 Opening of Ceylon Air Academy by Prime Minister Hon.D.S.Senanayake
1950 Enactment of Air Navigation Act No.15 of 1950
1949 Commencement of Air Ceylon flights to London
21.12.1949 Accident of Air Ceylon Douglas Dakota (registered VP-CAT) at Tiruchirapalli Airport with no loss of lives but destroying hull
01.06.1948 Sri Lanka gave accession to Convention on International Civil Aviation and became a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization

February 1947 – Commencement of air services by Ceylon Airways with three DC-3 aircraft under the Ministry of Communications and Works


10.12.1947 – Inaugural flight of Air Ceylon to Madras after name change from Ceylon Airways

March 1946 Establishment of Department of Civil Aviation
13.11.1946 Landing of Autocrat aircraft of Mr.J.P.Obeysekara at Ratmalana with 31 intermediate stops after taking off from London
1945 - Commencement of Air Service between Australia and United Kingdom with a stop in Sri Lanka Department of Civil Aviation took over the control of Ratmalana Airport.

30.03.1943 – Landing of seaplane at Koggala Lagoon

1942 – Royal Air Force took over control of Ratmalana Airport

1939 – Construction of Palavi Airport at Puttlam as an emergency airfield

28.02.1938 Formal opening of the Ratmalana Airport by Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott

1938 Appointment of the Director of Public Works as Director of Civil Aviation
28.02.1938 Launch of Air Mail service between Colombo and Mumbai

1937 – Promulgation of Air Navigation Regulations and Registration of three aircraft in SriLanka

07.08.1935 – First air competition of Colombo Flying Club

07.08.1935 – කොළඹ ගුවන් සමාජයේ පළමු ගුවන් තරඟය

1934 Establishment of Colombo Flying Club by Sir John Kotalawala
1934 Decision of the State Council to construct an Aerodrome at Ratmalana
1934 ශ්‍රීමත් ජෝන් කොතලාවල විසින් කොළඹ ගුවන් සමාජය ස්ථාපිත කිරීම
1934 රත්මලානේ ගගන යාත්‍රාංගණයක් ඉදිකිරීම සඳහා රාජ්‍ය මන්ත්‍රණ සභාවේ තීරණය

07.05.1931 – Arrival of the first International flight to the Race Course from Mumbai

07.05.1931 – බොම්බායේ සිට පළමු ජාත්‍යයන්තර ගුවන්යානය කොළඹ තුරඟ තරඟ පිටිය වෙත පැමිණීම

25.12.1912 Bleriot’s first attempt to fly at the Colombo Race Course
07.12.1912 Bleriot performed first successful flight at the Race Course
25.12.1912 පියාසර කිරීම සඳහා - කොළඹ තුරඟ තරඟ පිටියේදී බ්ලෙරියොට් යානයේ පළමු ප්‍රයත්නය
07.12.1912 කොළඹ තුරඟ තරඟ පිටියේදී ‍බ්ලෙරියොට් යානය කොළඹ තුරඟ තරඟ පිටිය වෙත පැමිණීම

12.09.1911 – Arrival of Bleriot aircraft in Sri Lanka in a ship

12.09.1911 – බ්ලෙරියෝට් ගුවන් යානය නෞකාවකින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට රැගෙන ඒම

History of Sri Lanka Civil Aviation in brief

Hon. Sir John Kotelawala
Minister of Transport and Works
(September 1947 – March 1956)
Hon. Maithripala Senanayaka
Minister of Transport and Works
(March 1956 – March 1960)

Hon. Montague Jayewickrema
Minister of Nationalized Services, Shipping and Transport
(March 1960 – July 1960)
Hon. P. B. G. Kalugalle
Minister of Transport and Works
(July 1960 – June 1964)

Hon. Anil Moonesinghe
Minister of Communications
(June 1964 – March 1965)
Hon. E. L. B. Hurulle
Minister of Communication
(March 1965 – May 1970)

Hon. Leslie Gunawardene
Minister of Transport
(May 1970 – September 1975)
Hon. P. B. G. Kalugalle
Minister of Shipping, Tourism and Aviation
(September 1975 – July 1977)

Hon. Wimala Kannangara
Minister of Shipping, Aviation and Tourism
(July 1977 – February 1978)

President His Excellency         J. R. Jayewardene
Ministry of Defense
(February 1978 – January 1989)

President His Excellency Ranasingha Premadasa
Minister of Defense
(January 1989 – May 1993)
President His Excellency          D.B. Wijethunga
Minister of Defense 
(May 1993 – August 1994)

Hon.Dharmasiri Senanayake
Minister of Tourism and Aviation
(August 1994 – July 2000)
Hon.Reggie Ranatunga
Minister of Civil Aviation
(August 2000 – October 2000)

Hon.Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
Minister of Civil Aviation & Airports Development
(October 2000 – September 2001)
President Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranayaka Kumarathunga
Minister of Tourism and Aviation
(September 2001 – December 2001)

Hon. Gamini Athukorala
Minister of Transport, Highways and Civil Aviation
(December 2001 – January 2002)
Hon. Tilak Marapana
Minister of Transport, Highways and Civil Aviation
(January 2002 – April 2004)

Hon. Mangala Samaraeera
Minister of Ports & Aviation Services
(Apri 2004 – May 2007)
Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa
Minister of Ports, Aviation, Irrigation and Water Management
(May 2007 – April 2010)

President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha
Minister of Ports and Aviation
(April 2010 – September 2010)
Hon.Piyankara Jayaratne
Minister of Civil Aviation
(September 2010 – 09 January 2015)
Hon.Arjuna Ranatunga
Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation
(12.01.2015 25.03.2015)

Hon. Reginold Cooray
Minister of Civil Aviation
Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva
Minister of Transport
(2015.09.04- to date)



The first aeroplane arrived on the shores of Sri Lanka by sea in a ship called ‘Rabenfels’ on 12th September 1911 for the use of an Englishman named Colin Brown.

The aircraft had an Anzani 25 horse power engine and was built in France. The aeroplane was rated as the best flying machine in the world, after Louis Bleriot flew it across the English Channel from Calais to Dover on 25th July 1909. The Bleriot aircraft did not fly during the first few months after arrival in Sri Lanka. It had been exhibited in different locations and people had bought tickets to see the wonder machine that was capable of traveling in air.

A German pilot named Franz Oster arrived in Sri Lanka in December 1911. He brought with him a monoplane called an Etrich Taube, an Austrian machine which was designed by Igo Etrich, of Austrian-Hungarian origin. The aeroplane looked like a dove and so carried the name Taube, the German word for a pigeon. Oster became the first pilot to lift off to the skies of Sri Lanka. In the first attempt Oster climbed into a cockpit, revved his engines and rolled on the grass at Colombo Race Course and shot out to the virgin sky of Lanka. In so doing he managed to reach a height of 40 feet but crashed and sustained minor injuries. Oster did another attempt which was also not successful. For his third attempt at flying the Sri Lankan sky, Oster used Colin Brown’s Bleriot monoplane which was on exhibition. Third time too, Oster was unlucky. He brought the Bleriot that was being displayed at the Colombo Racquet Club to fly. That time he collided with a bamboo sticking out of the Royal College building and crash-landed onto the Race Course grounds. Oster suffered a shoulder dislocation, cuts & bruises. The plane was badly damaged. None of Oster’s sorties into the skies qualified to be told first flight in Sri Lanka as those sorties could not complete the essential basic characteristics of afull flight; the takeoff, circuit and landing safely.

In the early morning on 7th December 1912, at Colombo Race Course grounds, two Frenchmen Georges Verminck and Marc Pourpre, managed to take-off in Bleriot aircraft, fly and land safely thus recording the First Flight in the skies of Sri Lanka.

The State acquired 242 acres of coconut plantation at Ratmalana in 1934 for the construction of a 600-yards long airstrip. The first plane; De Havilland Puss Moth flown by Flt/Lt Harold Tyndale-Biscoe, the Chief Flying Instructor of the Madras Flying Club landed on this new airstrip on 27 November, 1935. It was considered the ‘soft opening’ of the Airport.

Sir John Kotelawala, then Minister for Transport and Works promoted private flying through the Aero Club of Ceylon in the 1930s.

On February 28, 1938 the formal opening of the Ratmalana Airport for civil aviation and the official inauguration of the first direct regular airmail service under the British Empire Air Mail Scheme (AMS) from Sri Lanka was performed by the Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott at the invitation of Sir John L. Kotelawala Minister of Communications and Works.

At this occasion the Governor Caldecott handed over three official mail bags containing messages to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Governors of Bombay and Madras, to the Captain of the American Waco 4-Seater aircraft operated by Tata Sons Ltd., of Bombay, India, registering the first air mail service in Sri Lanka. After the inauguration ceremony, several “Tiger Moth” planes of the Aero Club staged a fly-past, to the delight of the large and distinguished gathering present, at which Governor Caldecott took the salute.

At the height of World War II in the early 1940s, Allied military came to the island and established airstrips at Katunayake, Vavuniya, Puttlum, Trincomalee, and Palaly. A sea-plane base was also established in Koggala, for the operation of military aircraft.

Until the early 1960s, Ratmalana was the primary airport for overseas-bound commercial flights.

In 1947, the Government appointed Mr. L. S. B. (Leslie) Perera to head the newly - created Department of Civil Aviation, and M. Chandrasoma, an experienced civil servant, as Perera`s Secretary to functions under the Ministry of Communications and Works. The office of the DCA was established at the Trans Works House, at Colombo Fort.

In 1947, the Government purchased three war - surplus Douglas DC 3 Dakota aeroplanes. The DC- 3s were all named after queens Sita Devi, Viharamaha Devi and Sunethra Devi a tradition which continued for some years. But the birth of the new State airline was still a few months in the future. So the three aircraft, under the aegis of the Civil Aviation Department, were extensively used for pilot training and route proving duties. In June 1947, at the suggestion of Sir John Kotelawala, Viharamaha Devi flew to London to collect a valuable cargo of electoral registers for the coming elections. The historic, nine-day flight supplied further proof of what Sri Lankan aviators, and the trusty DC 3, could accomplish. On Wednesday 10 December, 1947, with Capt. Peter Fernando at the controls and a complement of 16 passengers, Sita Devi rose gracefully from Ratmalana runway soon after 8 a.m. inaugurating the Air Ceylon commercial flights and headed for Palaly. After a brief stop there, the Dakota proceeded to Madras, returning to Colombo by the same route later that day. The honour of becoming Air Ceylon`s first air hostess fell to Miss. Mavis Wijeratne, who was Air Ceylon’s receptionist. The air hostess designated to crew the inaugural flight took ill suddenly so Miss. Wijeratne was quickly substituted.

Air Ceylon achieved the distinction of one of the world`s safest airlines, never recording a single passenger fatality throughout its 32-year history, apart from an accident on 21 December 1949 in which Douglas C-47 Dakota (registered VP-CAT) was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing at Tiruchirapalli Airport following a scheduled passenger flight from Jaffna. The 21 passengers and three crew members survived the accident.

During its life span from 1947 to 1978, Air Ceylon entered into partnership with four international airlines viz. Australian National Airways (ANA), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and French airline UTA.

Becoming Air Ceylon`s fourth international partner in 25 years, UTA provided a Douglas DC-8 jet for the long-haul services. Originally operated by UTA pilots with Sri Lankan cabin attendants, the DC-8 was subsequently bought outright by Air Ceylon and flown with a 100 percent Air Ceylon crew.

This purchase was applauded as a breakthrough in Air Ceylon`s struggle to shed the shackles of foreign influence. Air Ceylon had, at last, come of age. As the last of the airline`s faithful DC-3s were phased out, a second Avro HS 748 was bought.

However before long, the first signs began emerging that all was not well with the national carrier. Authorities in Europe impounded a DC-8 for non-payment of fuel bills, and staff morale plummeted when international services were suspended towards the end of 1977.

A reduced domestic and regional operation soldiered on valiantly with the Trident and two Avros. On 7th September 1978, Air Ceylon suffered a cruel blow. One of the Avros, just back from a trip to Jaffna, which parked at Ratmalana was exploded by a bomb planted inside aircraft, reducing it to a charred, twisted hulk. Miraculously no lives were lost. The surviving Avro and Trident struggled to maintain a semblance of an operation.

Air Lanka was set up by the Government of Sri Lanka in July 1979 following the closure of Air Ceylon in 1978. Initially, the new air carrier operated 2 Boeing 707 jets on lease from Singapore Airlines, but Air Lanka ended up keeping the Boeing 707s, which were purchased in 1979, while a Boeing 737 was acquired for shorter routes. During the 1980s, the airline increased the number of destinations served and made additions to its fleet. During the mid-1980s the airline operated two Boeing 747-200 aircraft to a number of European destinations. The airline’s golden aircraft was the Lockheed L1011 Tristar, which served the airline from 1980 to 2000.

Air Lanka, which was state-owned, was part-privatized to the Dubai-based Emirates Group in 1998, when Emirates and the Sri Lankan Government signed an agreement for a ten-year strategic partnership. This agreement included exclusive rights for all aircraft ground handling, airline catering at Colombo - Bandaranaike airport for a ten-year period and use of country’s traffic rights for six years. Emirates bought a 40% stake worth US$ 70 million (which it later increased to 43.6%) in Air Lanka, and sought to refurbish the airline’s image and fleet. The Government retained a majority stake in the airline, but gave full control to Emirates for investment and management decisions.

In 1998, the Air Lanka was rebranded ‘Sri Lankan Airlines’. Sri Lankan acquired 6 Airbus A330-200s to complement its fleet of Airbus A340-300 and A320-200 aircraft. Sri Lankan was the first airline in Asia to induct fly-by-wire state of art Airbus A320 aircraft giving a tremendous boost to the airline’s image. The A330-200 aircraft joined the airline between October 1999 and July 2000.

The management contract between Emirates and the Sri Lanka Government expired on 31 March 2008. Emirates sold its stake in shares to the Government of Sri Lanka at US$ 53 million in 2010, thus ending any affiliations the two airlines had with. The airline joined the one world alliance in 2012

Mihin Lanka which was incorporated on 27 October 2006 is a low-fare airline based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is wholly owned by the Sri Lankan government and commenced operations on 24 April 2007. The airline operates scheduled flights from its hub at Bandaranaike International Airport to a number of cities in the Indian subcontinent, the Gulf States and Southeast Asia. It code-shares with its partner Sri Lankan Airlines on several routes, as part of a consolidation exercise between the two airlines.

In response to a recommendation made by the International Civil Aviation Organization for enhancement of the State’s capability to conduct Safety Oversight functions, the Government abolished the Department of Civil Aviation in 2002 and created Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka in terms of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka Act No.34 of 2002. The Air Navigation Act No.15 of 1950 was replaced by Civil Aviation Act No.14 of 2010 and made wide provisions for the administration of the civil aviation in keeping pace with the present day requirements.

The International Civil Aviation Organization which conducted an audit on the Safety and Security Oversight capabilities of Sri Lanka from 24-30 October 2010 found that the State’s compliance in the implementation of international standards and recommended practices is well over the world average with the overall compliance of over 85%. As per the overall audit results, Sri Lanka has been ranked number 4 amongst 34 States in Asia & Pacific Regions and 19 amongst 181 States in the world.

The Government created an Airport Authority in 1979 for the development, operation and maintenance of civil airports in Sri Lanka and it survived only for three years. In 1983, the Government created an Agent established under the Companies Act to succeed the Airports Authority and to also provide Air Traffic Services which were hitherto handled by the Department of Civil Aviation. The Agent was identified as the Airports and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd., which has later being identified as the Statutory Service Provider under the Civil Aviation Act.

Katunayake International Airport was developed under the Canadian Government’s assistance in 1963. With the development work was completed in 1968, International air transport operations were shifted from Ratmalana to Katunayake. The airport had a passenger handling capacity of 1.5 million per annum at the beginning and it was subsequently expanded to 6 million passenger per annum with one pier and connecting eight aerobridges, under the Stage I-Phase II of the Airport Development Programme which was completed in November 2005.

The Government decided to construct the country’s second international airport at Mattala, Hambantota. H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, launched Airport Development of this airport was launched on 19th November 2009. The foundation stone for the terminal building which can handle 1 million passengers was laid on 24th April 2011. The Mattala Rajapakse International Airport was declared open by His Excellency the President on 18 March 2013 and commenced operations with the landing of a SriLankan Airlines special Airbus A340 flight named 'City of Magam Ruhunupura' with the President on board. The Airport development project cost the Government 240 million dollars. Air Arabia landed at MRIA as the first foreign airline. FlyDubai also commenced scheduled operations to MRIA. SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka which also commenced scheduled passenger operations to and from MRIA suspended operation out of Mattala in January 2015. With a view to promoting MRIA, the Government declared in 2015,  full 'open skies' policy at MRIA with all nine freedoms of air, available to airlines.

H.M.C. Nimalsiri
Director General of Civil Aviation
Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka

1 Mr.L.S.B.Perera, (CCS) 1946  1949
2 Mr.M.Chandrasoma (CCS)  1949  1949
3 Mr.P.Nadesen (CCS) 1949    1954
4 Capt.D.Kotalawala (Departmental Service) 1954    1956
5 Mr.L.S.B.Perera (CCS)  1956 1957
6 Mr.E.L.Wijenayake (CCS) 1957 1961
7 Mel (CCS) 1961  1971
8 Mr.Milton Aponso (SLAS) 1971 1975
9 Capt.C.H.S. Amarasekara (Departmental Service) 1976 1976
10 Mr.D.B.I.P.S.Siriwardane (CAS)    1976 1977
11 Mr.D.J.Bandaragoda (SLAS) 1977 1978
12 Mr.Mervin Perera (SLAS) 1978 1978
13 Mr.D.H.S.Athulathmudali (SLES) 1978  1979
14 Col. H.B.Wijekoon 1979 1983
15 Mr.D.C.T.Janz (SLAS) 1983 1985
16 S.Malalgoda (SLAS) (DGCA) 1985 1997
17 Mr.Lal Liyanaarachchi (SLAS)    1997 2002
18 Mr.H.M.C.Nimalsiri (Departmental Service) 07.07.2002 26.12.2002


Procurement Notices

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