Review of SriLankan Airlines flight Colombo Hambantota in Economy

Airline SriLankan Airlines
Flight UL119
Class Economy
Seat 59A
Aircraft Airbus A340-300
Flight time 00:40
Take-off 01 May 13, 07:25
Arrival at 01 May 13, 08:05
UL 58 reviews
By 804
Published on 19th June 2016
Hi guys,

Welcome you to another trip report by me. This is little bit special one since it's a domestic flight by SriLankan Airlines which not longer operates.

Background :
Colombo (CMB) was the only international airport in Sri Lanka for many years and there was a much need for another. Numerous proposals were tabled time to time but non of them materialized. Eventually in late 2000s plans for a secondary intl airport to be built close to Hambantota (about 250km south of Colombo) came in to talk. This was part of a much larger development plan including a sea port (opened in 2010) and other various infrastructure projects. The airport which was 25km north-east from Hambantota city centre was opened in March, 2013. The project sparked controversy due to various reasons including elephant movements in the area and lack of other infrastructure (at the time of opening these were not ready). SriLankan Airlines along with its low cost arm Mihin Lanka, Flydubai and Air Arabia started flying to this airport by making a stop while flying between Colombo and other destinations.

SriLankan advertised promotional fares for CMB-HRI sector so we decided try it on the labours day holiday.

We reached the airport early in the morning via the newly opened expressway. Check-in was quick and we were handed our boarding passes in no time. As it is the case with all flights to HRI, our one too heading to an international destination after the stopover in HRI (MLE as in our case). This means we have to go through immigration. There was a special counter opened for domestic passengers where the officer had a list of passenger which he cross checked with our boarding passes. We spent some time at the viewing deck before heading to the gate.

SriLankan aircraft parked on the apron.
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Domestic flights were a novelty to this terminal. Duty free shops had a notice, "Duty free items will not be sold to passengers from/to Mattala (Hambantota) International Airport". Just in case if someone tried to trick the system! :D

A340-300 4R-ADA will be hauling us today. This is the first A343 of UL and infact the first ever A340 delivered to an asian carrier.
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I settled to my window seat at the back of the cabin. My seatmate was a French gentleman flying to Male. The flght seemed full.

We departed on time and turned towards south to fly over the beautiful mountains.

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We only reached 14000 ft in this flight, soon it was time for descent.

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Touchdown! The flight time was barely 40 mins.
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The Terminal building in the distance.
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We were parked to one of the two jet bridges at the terminal.
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A flight from Beijing was parked at the other jet bridge, which will continue to Colombo.
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Few shots taken at the new airport.

We used a passenger bus to reach Hambantota city and went back home by intercity bus.

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The giant peacock at the entrance of the airport.
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This concludes my trip report. I should note that this service by UL was stopped in 2015 and only Rotana Jet carries passengers between CMB - HRI now and Flydubai makes a stop to carry passengers from/to DXB . 4R-ADA and rest of the A343s retired in the same year (Last flight on Jan, 2016 by 4R-ADF) and replaced by new A333s.
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SriLankan Airlines

Cabin crew9.0

Colombo - CMB


Hambantota - HRI



It was a quick but a good flight. No meals were served owing to the short flight time and couldn't try the IFE too. The aircraft showed the signs of wear and tear but the cabin was comfortable.



  • Comment 353934 by
    Rl 777 809 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    That must be a very short flight in an A343 if the airport is just 250 km south of Colombo.

    At least Sri Lanka has improved a lot of things in their country over the last years. In Bangladesh we just talk and plan stuff but nothing materializes.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 354000 by
      Thurya AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thank you for the feedback!

      Indeed it was so short for a quad-jet. I think the development is good but lack of coordination is the problem. That's why this airport still couldn't function to its true potential. It would be more economical and fruitful if they can start a prop service from CMB targeting the leisure crowd.

      The problem with South Asian countries is that when govt.s change, the new administration would not continue from where it was left by the previous regime and go back to the square one to lay new plans thus almost all the plans never go beyond the drawing boards.

      Even though Bangladesh has its own problems, I like how there domestic aviation sector has developed with number of competing airlines flying to different corners of the country.

      Thanks again. See ya!

  • Comment 354036 by
    jish.b SILVER 285 Comments

    This is an interesting one, and the first FR featuring HRI!

    Wow, HRI has been such a waste! The anticipated tourist growth never happened and the numerous problems that it came with it, such as the wildlife aspect.

    The airport looks pretty decent, nonetheless.

    Lucky that you got a flight on the A340, that too on a very short sector like this!

    Thanks for sharing such a unique FR!


    • Comment 354043 by
      Thurya AUTHOR 78 Comments

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes, it is depressing see this valuable asset getting wasted. Even though it was opened, it was not timely and there was no proper strategy to bring flights to this place. Hope it can shine in the future. Some say there is plan to establish an MRO facility. We'll see!!!

      Yes, lucky to be in the A340, especially as they are retired now. Ironically, Just after this report was published, the ultimate fate of 4R-ADA was shared among SriLankan fan forums, where it was seen torn apart :(


  • Comment 368058 by
    aaqib67 52 Comments

    Wish I got the opportunity to fly on this sector
    Great to see ADA in action and also some activity at HRI. Sadly both the aircraft and the airport do not function anymore.
    Lets hope to see some progress with HRI rather than it becoming a Ghost Airport, wed probably see something though during the Runway Expansion from January to April 2017

    Nevertheless keep up the good work and yes indeed this trip report was an extremely special one.


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