6 Airports in Sri Lanka: Getting Around Sri Lanka By Flight

The airports in Sri Lanka have been advancing themselves and expanding for the sake of its growing population and to ease the services for frequent visitors and tourists. Airways are a distinctive and rapidly developing section with the ever-increasing tourism market of Sri Lanka.

The following are some major airports in Sri Lanka:

1) Bandaranaike International Airport, Airport Code: CMB

Bandaranaike International airport

The Bandaranaike International Airport is in the capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo and is the first airports with major international and domestic airlines surfacing the runaway. 

Presently, the Bandaranaike International Airport has three terminals and a cargo terminal. 

The terminal 1 is the oldest terminal with 12 gates. The terminal is vast within which the arrival and departure gates are divided horizontally. The terminal comprises of the main terminal building which is connected to one entrance that houses all the gates. Major international flights use this particular terminal as the terminal 2 will be opening in 2019. 

There are two lounges, the Sri Lankan Airlines Serendib lounge and the Palm Spirit lounge. The airport consists of a cafeteria, a smoking lounge, tea shops and several duty-free shops along with day room and showers. Terminal 2 is set to open in 2019 and to consist of 8 gates in total. A new expansion project under phase II has commenced with additional boarding gates and passenger boarding bridges. Terminal 3 majorly deals with domestic flights with arrival and departure gates.

The government is also planning to bring about a second runaway and many other expansion projects in the future to expand this huge airport in Sri Lanka. The current flights within the airport include Air Arabia, Air China, Aeroflot, Indigo, Air India, Edelweiss Air and many more. The airport code of the Bandaranaike International airport is CMB and Airport and Aviation Services Ltd administers it.

History: The airport’s service began as a Royal Air Force airfield in 1944 during the period of the Second World War. In the year 1957, Prime Minister fired all the British military airfields handing it over to the Royal Ceylon Air Force while renaming it to Katunayake Airport. The locals still call it by the name of Katunayake. 

Part of the airport is always associated with the military. The history of Air Ceylon now more famously known as Sri Lanka Airlines began its international operations here. The airport was renamed after the Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike during the year 1970. 

2) Ratmalana Airport, Airport Code: RML

Ratmalana Airport

The Ratmalana Airport is located approximately 15 kms south to the capital city, Colombo. The Ratmalana Airport is believed to be the only international airport and is said to be the prime domestic airport which serves the capital city. Currently, the airport is a major host to domestic flights and various aviation training organizations. 

Two terminals are operating within the Ratmalana airport. Terminal one deals with international corporate and domestic flights, while terminal two deals with the regional operations. The facilities provided at the airport include Immigration services, VIP lounge, ground handling, Baggage and Passenger screening as per ICAO Standards. The current flights associated with Ratmalana airport include Air Senok, FitsAir, Helitours and Millennium airlines. 

History: Ratmalana was chosen as the perfect site to construct an airfield in 1934 to serve the capital city. The Ratmalana airport also precedes a great history of World War and civilian services which led to the establishment of Bandaranaike airport to shed off some load of the only international airport. 

In the year 1967, international flights started to take off at the newly opened Bandaranaike airport. However, Ratmalana airport again reopened to operate as an international airport for some trips and a full-time domestic airport. This particular airport in Sri Lanka is also operational for commercial jet operations and charter flights. 

3) Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Airport Code: HRI

Mattala Rajapaksa International airport

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is a major international airport serving within the southern province of the country.  The airport is located 18 Kms away from Hambantota in the town of Mattala. 

The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport has one terminal which can accommodate almost 1 million passengers per year. It has 12 checks in counters and two gates. The terminal has a medical centre, restaurants and a lounge, especially for business class passengers. The runaway of the airport measures up to 11,483 ft (3,500m). The Cinnamon Air is one of the domestic flights currently operational within the airport while FitsAir is the current cargo airline operating within the airport. The airport code of The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is HRI.

The airport is the first to be known with Greenfield characteristics such as the planning and construction processes are usually carried out from scratch. It is the second functional international airport after Bandaranaike airport. 

History: In the year 2013, the airport was inaugurated by the then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the man behind the construction of the airport. Due to congestion within the Bandaranaike airport and to nourish the tourism block within the country, the Mattala Rajapaksa airport in Sri Lanka was inaugurated. Formerly, the airport was a hub for many international flights including Sri Lankan Airlines. However, the demand fell, which led to the cancellation of many airlines. From 2018, there have been no scheduled flights with regards to the airport. Moreover, due to this condition, the airport has been designated to offer long-term aircraft parking services, initiate flying schools and maintenance services from the airport to back up the loans. 

4) Anuradhapura Airport, Airport Code: ACJ

Anuradhapura airport

The Anuradhapura Airport is one of the major local airports located within the Anuradhapura city, a major city situated within the Northern Province. The town is the central city of the Northern Province and is famous for its ancient temples which direct a story towards Sri Lankan civilization. The airport is also a military base and is often known as Sri Lanka Air Force Base Anuradhapura.  The current airlines operational with the airport include Air Senok, FitsAir, Helitours and Millennium Airlines. One of the operational domestic airports, Anuradhapura airport is one of the prominent local airports in Sri Lanka.

5) Sigiriya Airport (Dambulla), Airport Code: GIU

Sigiriya airport

Sigiriya Airport was initiated as an airbase by the Royal Air Force during the World War crisis. Presently, the Sigiriya airport functions as both an air force base and as a domestic airport owned by the government. The history of the airport began during the World War and was subsequently closed after the World War. However, with the invitation of the Air Marshal Donald Perera, Commander of the Air Force, the airbase was reopened again in 1985.

The current operational flights from the airport include Air Senok, FitsAir, Millennium Airlines, Helitours, and Cinnamon Air (Sri Lankan Airlines).  This small base is quite famous in Sri Lanka and is favourable for sightseeing if one has the Dambulla cave temple on their list first. 

6) Koggala Airport (Galle), Airport Code: KCT

Koggala airport

The Koggala Airport too was an air force base under the Royal Air Force. Now the airport is utilized for domestic and military flight purposes. Koggala airport has a vast history commemorating its contribution during the Second World War. Before the World War, the airport was also used for seaplanes near the lake of Koggala. The government has further plans for upgrading the Koggala airport into an international one and for which the feasibility study has already been advanced. The Koggala airport is situated almost 15 Kms from the city of Galle in Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka has nine provinces, and it is quite evident that the country should have as many airports for the convenience of the tourists and the locals. Some other domestic airports in Sri Lanka include Ampara, Batticaloa, China Bay Airport (Trincomalee) situated within the Eastern Province. Jaffna, Iranamadu, Hingurakgoda, Palavi and Vavuniya Airport within the Northern Province. The Kandy Airport is under construction in the Central Province.

This post was published by Ummema

Share this post on social media
Google +

Sri Lanka Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Related Articles


Sri Lanka in August: Weather, Things to Do, Places To Visit


Buses in Sri Lanka : Routes, Fares and Bookings

Travel Tips

Car rentals in Sri Lanka: Tips, Cost, Operators

Beaches & Islands

Sri Lanka Opens Visa-On-Arrival For Indians - Start Planning Now!

Travel Tips

Public Holidays in Sri Lanka 2020


Shopping in Sri Lanka For Handicrafts, Clothes and Tea!

Travel Tips

Online Visa for Sri Lanka - Procedure, Fees and Eligibility


Water Sports in Sri Lanka For An Exciting Adventure

Art & Culture

Languages in Sri Lanka: Local Language and Getting Around Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka in March: Weather, Things to Do, Best Places To Visit

Travel Tips

Sri Lanka Re-Launches Free Visa On Arrival Scheme For India And Other Countries


Sri Lanka in September: Weather, Things to Do, Places To Visit


Sri Lanka in July: Weather, Things To Do, Best Places To Visit

Travel Tips

E-Visa Countries For Indian Passport

Art & Culture

Dances of Sri Lanka: Culture, History and Where To Watch Them

Art & Culture

Dresses of Sri Lanka: Explore Unique Clothes of Sri Lanka

Art & Culture

Religion in Sri Lanka: Buddhism, Hinduism and Other Major Religions


5 Spas in Sri Lanka For A Relaxing And Revitalising Experience


Street Food in Sri Lanka For A Mouth-Watering Experience


Things To Do in Sri Lanka For An Exciting Vacation


Tourist Places in Sri Lanka To Explore The Emerald Country


Snorkeling in Sri Lanka For An Underwater Spectacle


Sri Lanka in February: Places To Visit, Weather, Things To Do


Sri Lanka in November: Things To Do, Festivals


Sri Lanka in January: Things To Do, Festivals

Fairs & Festivals

The Best Dishes of Sri Lanka To Explore it's Local Cuisine

Food & Drink

Food in Sri Lanka That Are The Country's Best Local Delicacies


Mountains in Sri Lanka


Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka


Is Sri Lanka Safe?- Things You Must Know Before Travelling

Food & Drink

The 12 Best Cafes in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Comments on this post