Batticaloa International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Batticaloa Airport)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Batticaloa International Airport
SLAF Batticaloa

மட்டக்களப்பு சர்வதேச விமான நிலையம்
මඩකලපුව ජාත්‍යන්තර ගුවන්තොටුපළ
Summary
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerGovernment of Sri Lanka
OperatorAirport and Aviation Services
ServesBatticaloa
LocationPuthunagar, Sri Lanka
Opened17 November 1958 (1958-11-17)
CommanderW. K. A. S. W. Vithana
Elevation AMSL3 m / 10 ft
Coordinates07°42′19″N 081°40′40″E / 7.70528°N 81.67778°E / 7.70528; 81.67778Coordinates: 07°42′19″N 081°40′40″E / 7.70528°N 81.67778°E / 7.70528; 81.67778
Websiteairport.lk/Bati
Map
BTC is located in Greater Batticaloa
BTC
BTC
BTC is located in Sri Lanka
BTC
BTC
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 1,560 5,118 Bitumen

Batticaloa International Airport (Tamil: மட்டக்களப்பு சர்வதேச விமான நிலையம், romanized: Maṭṭakkaḷappu Carvatēca Vimāṉa Nilaiyam, Sinhala: මඩකලපුව ජාත්‍යන්තර ගුවන්තොටුපළ, romanized: Maḍakalapuva Jātyantara Guvantoṭupaḷa) (IATA: BTC, ICAO: VCCB), formerly known as Batticaloa Airport, is an international airport serving eastern Sri Lanka. It is also a military airbase known as Sri Lanka Air Force Batticaloa or SLAF Batticaloa.[1] The airport is located in the village of Puthunagar on the island of Thimilathiu, 1 nautical mile (2 km; 1 mi) south-west of the city of Batticaloa.[2][3][4] It resides at an elevation of 3 m (10 ft) and has one runway designated 06/24 with a bitumen surface measuring 1,560 by 46 metres (5,118 ft × 151 ft).[2][5]

Established in 1958 as a domestic airport, the airport ceased functioning in 1979 following the collapse of Air Ceylon. The site was taken over by the Sri Lanka Air Force during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Domestic flights resumed in 2018 and in 2019 it became Sri Lanka's fifth international airport.

History[edit]

Domestic airport[edit]

Batticaloa Airport was originally opened on 17 November 1958 and was administered by Department of Civil Aviation.[6][7][8] About a decade later Air Ceylon started operating domestic flights between Batticaloa and Ratmalana via Gal Oya Airport using a 29 seat Nord Aviation aircraft.[6] The 75 minute flight between Batticaloa and Ratmalana became popular, particularly with government employees who could use railway warrants for three domestic flights each year.[6][7] Following the failure of Air Ceylon in August 1979 all domestic flights from the airport ceased.[6]

Sri Lankan civil war[edit]

On 27 March 1983 an air force base on the site was opened M. A. Abdul Majeed, Deputy Minister of Post and Telecommunication and District Minister for Batticaloa.[9] In 1985 around 300 families were forcibly evicted from their homes in order to expand the airport.[10][11] Using emergency regulations, officials ordered residents living within a 500m radius of the runway to leave their residences.[12] 230 homes, three temples and two schools in the villages of Puduvur and Valai Iravu were affected.[12] Evicted residents claimed that officials had threatened to bulldoze their homes if they did not leave.[10] The evicted families were each given 20 perches of land outside Batticaloa but the compensation for loss of their homes, which officials had promised would be paid within six months, took more than a decade to be paid and was much lower than originally promised.[10][11] The airport was not expanded, nor was the runway extended, instead barbed wire fencing was erected around the airport and the area declared a "security zone".[10][12]

Post-civil war[edit]

Following the end of the civil war, construction of a domestic airport at the base began in September 2012.[13][14] The Road Development Authority was given the task of extending the runway from 1,070 metres to 1,560 metres, suitable for 60-seater aircraft, but in November 2015, with 60% of the work completed, the renovation came to a stop.[6][14][15] In December 2015 the government ordered the air force to complete the extension of the runway.[6][15] The location of the airport, a narrow peninsula surrounded on three sides by Batticaloa Lagoon, limited the length of the runway.[6] A new terminal building was also built by the air force.[13][14] The airport came under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Authority from 31 May 2016 and the state-owned Airport and Aviation Services was appointed operator of the civilian side of the airport.[6][16] The airport covers an area of 145 ha (359 acres) out of which the air force occupies just over half - 76 ha (188 acres).[6]

The renovated airport was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena on 10 July 2016 but as it did not conform to civil aviation requirements there was no civilian flights from the airport.[6][15] Civilian operations eventually commenced on 25 March 2018 with Cinnamon Air operating two daily flights.[17][18] The renovations cost Rs 1.4 billion.[6][19]

International airport[edit]

As Jaffna Airport was being redeveloped by the Government of India, civil society groups from eastern Sri Lanka complained to the Indian consul in Jaffna that Indian development work was only focussed on the north and ignored the east.[20] In 2019 the Indian government agreed to redevelop Batticaloa Airport and the Sri Lankan government agreed to make it an international airport as well.[20][21] Cabinet approval was given in September 2019 to make the airport a regional airport, allowing international flights but not long-haul flights.[22][23] In early October 2019 the airport was made a regional airport and re-named Batticaloa International Airport.[3][24][25][26]

The airport is expected to be ready for international flights by January 2020.[22] Alliance Air and FitsAir have expressed interest in operating international flights from Batticaloa.[27][28]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

All the following flights are currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

AirlinesDestinations
Air Senok Charter: Colombo–Ratmalana
FitsAir Charter: Colombo–Ratmalana
Helitours Charter: Colombo–Ratmalana
Millennium AirlinesCharter: Colombo–Ratmalana
Serendib Airways Charter: Colombo–Ratmalana
SriLankan Airlines
operated by Cinnamon Air
Colombo–Bandaranaike, Polgolla Reservoir Waterdrome (KDZ), Waters Edge Colombo City (DWO) [29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sri Lanka Air Force Batticaloa". Sri Lanka Air Force. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "VCCB – Batticaloa". AIP Sri Lanka. Aeronautical Information Services of the Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. 17 October 2013. Archived from the original on 22 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "PART I : SECTION (I) – GENERAL Government Notifications THE AIR NAVIGATION REGULATION OF 1955 Notice under Regulation 126" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No. 2144/47. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Government of Sri Lanka. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Administrative map of Batticaloa City". Official web site of Batticaloa Municipal Council.
  5. ^ "President says SL ranked second among nations striving to achieve internal peace". News First. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Nimalsiri, H. M. C. (26 March 2018). "The Batticaloa Airport and its future potential". Daily FT. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Appeals to re-open Batticaloa Airport". The Daily Mirror. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 10 June 2011. Archived from the original on 7 September 2013.
  8. ^ Casinader, Prince (20 May 2013). "Batticaloa welcomes re-opening of its airport". Ceylon Today. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Sri Lanka Air Force Batticaloa". Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Air Force. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d de Silva, Shelani (27 July 1997). "12 year agony for airport victims". The Sunday Times. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b de Silva, Shelani (23 November 1997). "Another blow for displaced residents". The Sunday Times. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b c "Batticaloa Airport Area - Now a Security Zone" (PDF). Tamil Times. Vol. IV no. 11. Sutton, U.K. September 1985. p. 14. ISSN 0266-4488.
  13. ^ a b "President kicks off construction of domestic airport at Batti". Daily FT. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Foundation stone laid to build terminal building". Ceylon Today. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 5 September 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "Batti airport opened". The Daily Mirror. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  16. ^ Sanjeewa, Darshana (5 July 2016). "Batticaloa Airport now under the CAA". The Daily Mirror. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  17. ^ Sanjeewa, Darshana (25 March 2018). "Batti airport opens for service". The Daily Mirror. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Re-developed Batticaloa Airport unveiled for civil aviation". Daily News. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  19. ^ Packiyanathan, Sivam (26 March 2018). "Renovated Batticaloa airport opens". Daily News. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  20. ^ a b Lohathayalan, N. (17 October 2019). "The Jaffna International Airport: Fulfilling Sri Lankan aspirations". Daily FT. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  21. ^ Packiyanathan, Sivam (7 July 2019). "Batticaloa airport to be upgraded". Sunday Observer. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Ratmalana, Batticaloa airports as Regional airports from Jan.2020". The Sunday Times. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 15 September 2019. Archived from the original on 19 September 2019.
  23. ^ "Ratmalana & Batticaloa airports to be regional airports from Jan". Ceylon Today. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 15 September 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Palali renamed as Jaffna Intl Airport, bringing total number of Intl. Airports in SL to 5". The Sunday Times. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Three domestic airports to be named as international airports". Ada Derana. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  26. ^ "PART I : SECTION (I) – GENERAL Government Notifications CIVIL AVIATION ACT, No. 14 OF 2010 Order under Section 6" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No. 2144/64. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Government of Sri Lanka. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  27. ^ Sirimane, Shirajiv (27 September 2019). "India's Alliance Air to operate flights to Palali and Batticaloa". Daily News. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  28. ^ Ramiah Mohan, Sulochana (6 October 2019). "Air India's 'Alliance Air' to land at JIA opening". Ceylon Today. Colombo, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  29. ^ http://www.cinnamonair.com/schedules-fares/schedules.html

External links[edit]