Palaly Airport has also been renamed ‘Jaffna International Airport’ in view of the upgrading of its services to offer international flights.
A spokesman for the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry said the upgrading carried out by the Road Development Authority (RDA) and Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd is in the final phase at the moment.
Meanwhile, the construction of all basic structures of the first phase has been completed.
Jaffna International Airport will be the third international airport in Sri Lanka.
With the recent development of regional airports and their transformation into international airports, five international airports are scheduled to operate in Sri Lanka – Colombo (Katunayake), Hambantota (Mattala), Jaffna (Palaly), Batticaloa and Ratmalana. Jaffna International Airport will cater to both domestic and international flights.
International flights would initially be operated to Indian destinations such as Bangalore, Cochin, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
The present 950-metre runway has been re-laid under the first phase and is to be extended to 1.5 km, allowing larger aircraft to land in Palaly.
Palaly Airport was used for air travel between Madras, India, and Jaffna in the 1960s. The airport operated as an Air Force base during the 30-year civil war. After the war, it has been serving as an Air Force and domestic airport.