Published : 9:00 am  July 11, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (936) reads | 

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BY JAWFER KHAN The renovated runway of the Batticaloa Domestic Airport was declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday.

An SLAF MA-60 aircraft carrying President Maithripala Sirisena landed on the airstrip to mark the commissioning of the runway. Renovation of the airstrip was initiated in December 2012 by Ministry of Civil Aviation and the extension of the runway from 1070 metres to 1560 metres long was assigned to the Road Development Authority (RDA). However, the renovation was stopped in November 2015 after completing the work up to 60 per cent. On the request made by the Sri Lanka Air Force, a Cabinet decision was taken on December 17, 2015 to entrust the construction of the runway by the Air Force on January 12, 2016. Total cost of the renovation and the newly constructed passenger terminal building was Rs. 1,143 million. The Batticaloa Airport now comes under the Civil Aviation Authority.

The full construction of the project was started on February 15, 2016 and completed on May 25, 2016 within 100 days according to preliminary plans by the SLAF with the supervision of the Directorate of Civil Engineering. The Air Force finished the balance 40% construction of the runway and the newly-constructed passenger terminal building at a material cost of Rs. 290 million and with free labour and other resources, thereby saving approximately Rs. 410 million to the country when compared to the other quotations received for the same. This is one of the four runways renovated (Anuradhapura, Batticaloa) and constructed (Iranamadu, Mullaittivu) by the SLAF.