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How Many Airports in Sri Lanka

How Many Airports in Sri Lanka

Pristine tea estates in the hills, beaches fit for surfing and coral-watching, cities boasting classic and contemporary architecture, timeless UNESCO sites, friendly locals and mouthwatering food are the few features of Sri Lanka that make it a melting potpourri. Becoming a favorite among tourist because of the diversity in entertainment the country offers, Sri Lanka is rich artificially and naturally. The destination is important, but the journey to the destination plays a crucial part in setting our impression about the place. Getting to Sri Lanka through flight is easy and panoramic. Tiny green fields swathed with coconut trees become bigger and bigger as the plane descends, touching down to Lankan soil. Kill some boredom and read on about how many airports in Sri Lanka.

International Airports

1.     Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA)

Airport Code: CMB

Other names: Colombo International Airport/ Katunayake International Airport

Location: Katunayake, a suburb of Negombo which is 35 kilometers north of Colombo

If you have ever visited or planned to visit Sri Lanka, then you must have heard of the Bandaranaike International Airport. Currently, BIA is the country’s chief international airport. Named after the former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, the airport is used for both international and local travel with different terminals for each. Formerly operating as the base of the Sri Lankan Air Force, the airport took up a large chunk of it. However, the SLAF has expanded adjoining to the airport and is used for many flying squadrons.

BIA has three terminals in all; Terminal 1 and 2 for international flights and Terminal 3 for local flights. Opened in 1967, Terminal 1 is the oldest and currently operating terminal with 12 gates. The arrivals and departures area are horizontally divided with seating areas offering views of the runway. The terminal also houses the Lotus Lounge as well as the Palm Spirit Lounge for business and first class travelers. Duty-free shops selling everything from wine to jewellery, a cafeteria, a tea shop, a smoking lounge and washrooms are placed throughout the terminal. Terminal 2 is under construction and is expected to be open to the public in 2020. A total of 8 gates with vertical separation for international arrival and departure areas are currently underway. Terminal 3 is currently operating as the domestic terminal and was opened in November 2012. BIA also has a Cargo terminal to handle cargo flights. The airport has initiated a new scheme called Silk route which will provide certain facilities for a fee. Baggage collection, check-in procedures including immigration and customs will be taken care of by the airport staff. The traveler can rest in the silk route lounge until the procedures are complete.

2.     Mattala Rajapakse International Airport (MRIA)

Airport Code: HRI

Other names: Mattala Airport

Location: Mattala which is 18 kilometres away from Hambantota

Expected with a bang for its buck, the opening of Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport was anticipated by locals and tourists alike. Named after the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the posh simulated videos showcasing the forecasted interior and exterior of the airport kept everyone excited. Modern décor, long runway and a capacity of one million passengers per annum wasn’t enough to make it a favorite among tourists visiting sri lanka. It was mainly opened to share the increasing traffic to Bandaranaike International Airport and because Mattala was close to many of the top tourist destinations like Yala National Park and Arugam Bay. But alas, the demand for the routes were low resulting in it gaining the title of the world’s loneliest international airport. It is not so lonely after all, with elephants, peacocks, buffaloes and many other creatures visiting its runway. Currently it operates local flights and international flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

3.     Ratmalana Airport (RA)

Airport Code: RML

Other names: None

Location: Ratmalana which is 15 kilometers south of Colombo

This was Sri Lanka’s first international airport before BIA came into the scene. Now, it is the core of domestic aviation and an aerodrome which is used for training aviation students. Since August 2012, the airport handles international corporate jets and provides a more elite experience for the passengers. The airport is close to many of the country’s leading brand factories like Bata which produces slippers.

Domestic Airports

Although Sri Lanka is a comparatively tiny island, it packs a huge punch with attractions in literally every district. Getting around is a bit time consuming because of roads that are unable to capacitate a huge load of traffic. Highways have been built to reduce travel time and are a good trail for proving Sri Lanka’s lush greenery. However, getting about within the country is made quicker by air taxis that operate to and from certain domestic airports. Cinnamon Air and Sri Lankan Airlines are few of the major handlers along with other twin otter planes and straight floats taking passengers about. Sri Lanka from up above is equally beautiful. The only difference is you get to see more at one shot.

  1. Koggala Airport

Airport Code: KCT

Location: Koggala which is a city in the Galle district

The runway is surrounded by the sea on one side and lush greenery on the other sides. The runway is used for domestic flights and military flights. It is close to Galle, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Weligama and Matara.


  1. Bentota River Airport

Airport Code: BJT

Location: Bentota

Situated in the famous destination Bentota, it is close to Colombo, Kaluthara and Aluthgama.

  1. Vic Reservoir Kandy Airport

Airport Code: KDW

Location: Kandy

Who doesn’t love Kandy? Perfect climate, colorful processions and attractive sights make it a leading tourist destination in Sri Lanka.

  1. China Bay Airport

Airport Code: TRR

Location: located 7 kilometres south west of Trincomalee

This airport was originally built as an airfield by the British in the year 1920. Getting to Arugam Bay from here is less time consuming.

  1. Mawella Lagoon Airport

Airport Code: DIW

Location: Dickwella

  1. Castlereigh Reservoir Airport

Airport Code: NUF

Location: Hatton

  1. Ampara Airport

Airport Code: ADP

Location: Ampara

  1. Sigiriya SLAF Base Airport

Airport Code: GIU

Location: Sigiriya

Getting to the Sigiriya frescoes is less time consuming.

  1. Anuradhapura Airport

Airport Code: ACJ

Location: Anuradhapura

  1. Kankesanturai Airport

Airport Code: JAF

Location: Jaffna

  1. Batticaloa Airport

Airport Code: BTC

Location: Batticaloa

Answering the question ‘How Many Airports in Sri Lanka?’ can get me explaining for days. The purpose of this article is to educate you with the details you need to know for a good trip in the country, not kill you with boredom. There could be 10 or 100, only open to military or the public, either way we are happy that our airports allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of our rich and friendly country.




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