The renovated Batticaloa runway was declared open by landing a SLAF MA-60 aircraft with the President, Maithripala Sirisena on board at the Sri Lanka Air Force Station Batticaloa today (10 July 2016).
President Maithripala Sirisena, was welcomed by the Commander of the Air Force Air Marshal GP Bulathsinghala with the Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chief Minister including provincial councillors, Secretary Defence, and Government officials.
Renovation of the airstrip was initiated in December 2012 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the extension of the runway from 1070 meters to 1560 meters long was assigned to the Road Development Authority (RDA). However, the renovation was stopped in November 2015 after completing the work up to 60%.
On the request made by Sri Lanka Air Force, a Cabinet decision was taken on 17 December 2015 to entrust the balance construction of the runway by the Air Force on 12 January 2016.
The construction of the project was started on 15 February 2016 and completed on 25 May 2016 within 100 days according to preliminary plans by the SLAF with the supervision of Directorate of Civil Engineering. Air Force finished the 40% construction of the runway and the newly constructed passenger terminal building with 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.
Total cost of the renovation and the newly constructed passenger terminal building is Rs 1143 Million.