Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport
බණ්ඩාරනායක ජාත්‍යන්තර ගුවන්තොටුපළ
பண்டாரநாயக்க பன்னாட்டு விமான நிலையம்
Logo of the Bandaranaike International Airport
WMO: 43450
Airport type Public / Military
Owner Government of Sri Lanka
Operator Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd
Serves Colombo
Location Katunayake, Sri Lanka
Hub for
Time zone SLST (UTC+05:30)
Elevation AMSL 26 ft / 8 m
Coordinates 07°10′52″N 79°53′01″E / 7.18111°N 79.88361°E / 7.18111; 79.88361Coordinates: 07°10′52″N 79°53′01″E / 7.18111°N 79.88361°E / 7.18111; 79.88361

Location of airport in Sri Lanka

Direction Length Surface
ft m
04/22 10,991 3,350 Asphalt
04L/22R(Planned) 13,125 4,000 Asphalt
04R/22L(Planned) 13,125 4,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Passenger Movements Increase 8,526,578
Air Freight Movements (tonnes) Increase 215,032,420
Aircraft Movements Increase 58,729

Bandaranaike International Airport (also known as Colombo International Airport and Katunayake International Airport) (IATA: CMB, ICAO: VCBI) is the main international airport serving Sri Lanka. It is named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and is located in a suburb of Negombo, 22 miles (35 km) north of the capital Colombo. It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd and serves as the hub of SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and Cinnamon Air, the domestic carrier.


SriLankan Airlines has its main base at CMB

The airport began as a Royal Air Force airfield in 1944 during the Second World War, RAF Station Negombo. In 1957, Prime minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike removed all the British Military airfields from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the airfield was handed over to the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) and renamed Katunayake; part of it still remains a military airfield. In 1964 Anil Moonesinghe, the Minister of Communications, started the building of a new international airport to replace Ratmalana, with Canadian aid. The airport was completed in 1967, and Air Ceylon, the national carrier, began international operations from it using a Hawker Siddeley Trident and a leased British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) VC-10. It was named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, in 1970. It was renamed Katunayake International Airport in 1977, but was changed back to Bandaranaike International Airport in 1995.

On 7 November 1971 the first Boeing 747 landed at the airport, the Boeing 747-200B was operated by Condor was carrying German tourists from Frankfurt. In the early 1990s the position of the airport's runway (04/22) was shifted northward and the old runway was made into a taxiway for departing and arriving aircraft. Airport expansion projects have recently been undertaken at the airport under the Stage 1, Phase II Expansion Project. A pier with eight aero-bridges opened in November 2005. A new terminal with an additional eight gates are proposed to be built under Stage II of the Phase II Expansion Project. Construction of the new Stage II, Phase II Expansion Project is expected to commence in September/October 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2020 .[2]

On 7 May 2007 the Sri Lankan Government decided to shift some military aviation operations out of the space adjoining the airport to SLAF Hingurakgoda, thus paving the way for more civilian operations. As part of the airport development program, a passenger train service was launched between the Airport and Colombo Secretariat Station, in June 2010. They also unveiled plans to extend the Colombo-Katunayake airport express train to Ratmalana International Airport.[2] The airport is used by Emirates as an alternative emergency airport for its Airbus A380 aircraft.[2][3] In 9 January 2012, an Airbus A380-800 operated by Emirates flight EK 413 from Sydney landed at Bandaranaike International Airport. This was the first time in history that an Airbus A380 had landed in a Sri Lankan airport. EK 413 had taken-off from Sydney en route to Dubai, but needed a refueling stop. Originally planned to refuel at Singapore, it was decided to land in Colombo instead. The exact cause as to why the A380 needed to refuel is not known.[4]

Bandaranaike International Airport is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380.

SriLankan Airlines is the largest airline operating at the airport, with a fleet of 20 Airbus aircraft based at Colombo and providing scheduled services to Europe, Middle East, India, South East Asia and the Far East.


Terminal interior
Terminal interior
Departures area
Apron view


Bandaranaike International Airport (airport code CMB) at Katunayake, Sri Lanka, is 30 kilometers north of the island nation's capital of Colombo. Thirty airlines currently serve the airport's over 8.5 million annual passengers. . The airport has three passenger terminals. Terminal 1 is the current international terminal, built in 1967, Terminal 2 is the new international terminal, which is expected to be completed in 2017, and Terminal 3 is the new domestic terminal, which opened in November 2012. The airport's new Silk Route lounge recently opened, expediting the customs process for Commercially Important Passengers.



The Bandaranaike International Airport has a single runway (04/22), with an asphalt surface. The take-off and landing distances are 3,441 m and 3,350 m respectively. In addition, the government has decided to invest on a second runway at the airport, enabling the A380 to land in Colombo. There is also a plan to build another taxiway to handle the A380 in the future. In addition, Phase II of the BIA expansion project is to have a second runway, also able to accommodate the A380, with another taxiway to the second runway.

Runway renovations

The main runway will be closed from 6 January 2017 to 7 April 2017 between 8.30 AM to 4.30 PM. Airlines had already been informed to re-schedule flights, About 185 flights operate from the airport each day. The runway will be re-built in sections for four hours each day, with another four hours given for the material to harden.The dates and hours of closure were decided in consultation with airline operators, said the CAA. This is the first time overlaying work is being carried out on the airport’s runway since it completed construction in 1986.

Expansion projects

The airport is undergoing resurfacing of its runway. Future projects may include a second runway to support the Airbus A380, a further eight passenger gates, a domestic terminal, a five-storey car-park, and a five-star hotel neighbouring the airport. Construction of the new approach channels to the airport will begin in September/October 2017, and expected to be completed by 2020 .[5]

A new split-level passenger terminal building, which separates arrivals and departures vertically, a new pier with eight boarding gates, and 14 passenger boarding bridges, with a dedicated gate comprising two passenger boarding bridges for the new Airbus A380, will be included in the proposed new complex. There would also be a remote apron and an additional nine parking stands to ease air traffic movement. There would be a tax-free apparel shopping mall at the Katunayake BOI Zone to attract more business visitors to Sri Lanka. The mall is to be adjacent to the arrival terminal and connected by a sky bridge.

The second stage will involve the acquisition of 600 hectares of public land, the construction of a runway capable of accommodating new-generation airplanes, an aircraft repair and maintenance center, an arrival and a departure terminal, a shopping arcade, a cargo complex connected to the airport by rail and a multistory car park. Under the Development Project Phase II, Stage 2, a second passenger terminal and a required utility for second terminal will be constructed. Work will also be carried out to expand the terminal, aircraft parking apron, and public utilities. The existing airport terminal will be converted to a domestic and regional terminal, when the new complex is ready. A two tier passenger terminal with arrivals and departures physically separated as found in most modern airports will also be constructed. A rapid exit to the Colombo - Katunayake Highway will be provided directly from the terminal. Stage 2 itself is to be implemented in two stages and the first stage is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Project phases and construction

The second phase of the expansion project is being carried out with Japanese assistance and is expected to be completed by 2017.

Airlines and destinations


Air Arabia Sharjah 1
Air China Chengdu 1
Air India Chennai, Delhi 1
Air India Express Chennai 1
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur–International 1
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna 1
Azur Air Seasonal charter: Moscow-Domodedovo 1
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 1
China Eastern Airlines Kunming, Malé, Shanghai–Pudong 1
Cinnamon Air Batticaloa, Bentota, Dickwella, Hambantota, Koggala, Sigiriya, Trincomalee
Charter: Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya, Vavuniya
Emirates Dubai–International, Malé, Singapore (ends 6 January 2017; resumes 7 April 2017)[6] 1
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Warsaw–Chopin 1
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 1
flydubai Dubai–International, Malé 1
Gulf Air Bahrain (resumes 19 January 2017) 1
Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu 1
Jet Airways Bangalore (begins 5 January 2017), Mumbai 1
KLM Seasonal: Amsterdam 1
Korean Air Malé, Seoul–Incheon 1
Kuwait Airways Kuwait 1
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal charter: Warsaw-Chopin 1
Mahan Air Seasonal charter: Tehran–Imam Khomeini 1
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International 1
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–International 1
Mega Maldives Malé 1
Millennium Airlines Charter: Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Kalutara, Koggala, Minneriya, Sigiriya, Trincomalee 3
Neos Milan–Malpensa 1
Oman Air Muscat 1
Qatar Airways Doha 1
Rotana Jet Abu Dhabi 1
RoyalFlight Seasonal charter: Moscow–Sheremetyevo 1
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh 1
Singapore Airlines Singapore 1
SpiceJet Chennai, Madurai 1
SriLankan Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Chennai, Dammam, Delhi, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai–International, Gan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Jeddah, Karachi, Kochi, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kunming, Kuwait, Lahore, London–Heathrow, Madurai, Mahé, Malé, Mumbai, Muscat, Riyadh, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli, Tokyo–Narita, Varanasi
Seasonal: Chengdu, Chongqing
Sriwijaya Air Charter: Pekanbaru[7][8] 1
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi 1
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Helsinki (begins 23 December 2016),[9] London–Gatwick, Stockholm–Arlanda (begins 16 December 2016)[9] 1
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk 1
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil 1


Cathay Pacific Cargo Chennai, Hong Kong
FitsAir Bangalore, Gan, Malé
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha, Karachi, Lahore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram
SriLankan Cargo Bangalore, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai
Turkish Airlines Cargo Istanbul–Atatürk

Ground transportation


A coach service operates every 15 minutes from the terminal to Colombo via  E03  Colombo – Katunayake Expressway, with a travel time of around 30 minutes.


 E03  Colombo – Katunayake Expressway is a new high-speed road linking the airport to Colombo, with a travel time of around 20 minutes. The airport taxi service operates a counter in the arrival Lobby with a fleet over 600 vehicles.


A high-speed rail system is proposed to connect the airport to the capital Colombo by an electrified high-speed rail link to Colombo Fort where it will link to the proposed Colombo Monorail.


Sea plane in Seeduwa Dadugam Oya near Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake and using DHC-6-100 for traveling inside the country in Sri Lanka. Cinnamon Air operates scheduled flights daily.

SLAF Katunayake

SLAF Katunayake
Katunayake, Western Province
Type Cantonment
Site information
Controlled by Sri Lanka Air Force
Site history
Built 1944
In use 1956 – present

In 1956 with the departure of the RAF from RAF Negombo, the Royal Ceylon Air Force took over and renamed the station RCyAF Katunayake. With the construction of the Bandaranaike International Airport, major portion of the air base was taken over. However the Sri Lanka Air Force remained and expanded its air base adjoining the International Airport. At present it is the largest SLAF station in the country and is the airfield for several flying squadrons as well as ground units. The SL Air Force Hospital is also based at SLAF Katunayake.

In March 2001, on the 50th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force, the airfield was presented with the President's Colours.

Lodger squadrons

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. "Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka: Annual Report 2015".
  2. 1 2 3 "Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, Sri Lanka". airport-Technology. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  3. Sirimane, Shirajiv (14 February 2010). "Airbus A380 to touch down at BIA". Sunday Observer. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  4. Sandaruwan, Miyuru. "Airbus A380 Touches Down in Sri Lanka for the first time". Airline Industry Review. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  5. Ministry of Ports and Aviation Medium Term. Infrastructure Development Programme Microsoft PowerPoint 10.5 MB 13 January 2008
  6. "Emirates Colombo – Singapore 17Q1 service updates". routesonline. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  9. 1 2 2016, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Thomson Airways Schedules Boeing 787-9 W16 Nordic Operations".
  10. "Aviation-Safety PH-MBH accident description page". 4 December 1974. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Accident history for CMB at Aviation Safety Network
  13. "Situation at Katunayake brought totally under control [5th Lead]". Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  14. Leon Berenger (13 January 2008). "Mihin Lanka's near disaster in the air". Sunday Times Online. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  15. "UPDATE: Mihin Lanka flight makes emergency landing over suspected fire". 9 April 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013.

External links

Media related to Bandaranaike International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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