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.
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.
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.
We only reached 14000 ft in this flight, soon it was time for descent.
Touchdown! The flight time was barely 40 mins.
The Terminal building in the distance.
We were parked to one of the two jet bridges at the terminal.
A flight from Beijing was parked at the other jet bridge, which will continue to Colombo.
Few shots taken at the new airport.
We used a passenger bus to reach Hambantota city and went back home by intercity bus.
The giant peacock at the entrance of the airport.
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.
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.
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