Bandaranaike Intl Colombo Airport Sri Lankan airports - Bandaranaike Intl Colombo Airport
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Bandaranaike Intl Colombo Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport
பண்டாரநாயக்க பன்னாட்டு விமான நிலையம்
Bandaranaike International Airport
Bandaranaike International Airport
Airport type Military/Public
Operator Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd
Serves Colombo
Location Katunayake, Sri Lanka
Hub for
  • Mihin Lanka
  • SriLankan Airlines
Elevation AMSL 26 ft / 8 m
Website Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd
Direction Length Surface
ft m
04/22 10,991 3,350 Asphalt

Bandaranaike International Airport (also known as Katunayake International Airport and Colombo International Airport) (IATA: CMB, ICAO: VCBI) is Sri Lanka's only international airport. It is located in Katunayake, 35 km (22 mi) north of Colombo. It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. It is the hub of SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and Mihin Lanka, the budget airline of Sri Lanka.

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport
Click to enlarge


The airport began as a Royal Air Force airfield in 1944 during the Second World War, RAF Station Negombo. In 1957, when SWRD Bandaranaike removed all the British Military airfields from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the airfield was handed over to the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) and renamed Katunayake. Part of it still remains an Air Force airfield.

In 1964 Anil Moonesinghe, the Cabinet 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. The airport was also a Trans World Airlines (TWA) hub for a short time.

It was named Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), 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.

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 the first half of 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2012.

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.

The airport is used by Emirates Airlines as an alternative emergency airport for its Airbus A380 aircraft.

Future Projects

The airport is undergoing resurfacing of its runway. It has been announced, as of December 3, 2009, that its current runway will be extended to 3,350 metres. 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. New approach channels into the airport will be created in 2012.

Runway Expansion

  • Runway Overlay by 2009
  • Expected Date of Commencement- February 2007
  • A second runway will be created in 2012

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - The main runway for the airport
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - An Airbus A320-200 (4R-MRB) operated by Mihin Lanka being serviced by a boarding bridge
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - A Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A340-300 on the tarmac at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo.
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - A Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A320-200 (4R-ABB) at the ramp area before the renovations.
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - Aircraft at the main international terminal (Terminal 1).
Click to enlarge

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - Apron Alpha (the main pier and an Airbus A330-300 docked at the gate, in the background)
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Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport - The airport is the main hub for SriLankan Airlines
Click to enlarge

Stage II, Phase II Expansion Project

  • Project Implementation 2007-2012
  • Airport access roads and landside curbs
  • Multi-storey car park
  • 50 room transit hotel
  • Expansion of the duty free area by 125 shops
  • Additional Passenger Terminal Building- 120,000 sqm with segregated departures and arrivals levels.
  • Pier (40 X 300 meters)- 8 gates, with gate lounges and aero-bridges. Total aero-bridge capacity to be upgraded to 16 aero-bridges.
  • Expansion of International Aircraft Parking capacity to 32 aircraft
  • Expansion of Passenger Movement Capacity to 16 million people per annum
  • Expansion of cargo movement capacity to 1,000,000 tons per annum
  • Additional Remote Aircraft Apron
  • New Cargo Terminal Building
  • Construction of new apron
  • Construction of new taxiways
  • Construction a second runway
  • Construction of elevated roadway and roads;
  • Construction of a passenger terminal building (floor area approximately 104,000 square metres);
  • Construction of public utilities;
  • Renovation of departure and arrival porch and walkway at existing passenger building, and;
  • Construction of related facilities


The BIA has three cargo terminals and one passenger terminal.

The arrival and departure areas in the passenger terminal are located close to each other, easing the movement of passengers between terminals. There are 39 check-in desks, four gates, 575 short-term parking spaces, three airport hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, a VIP lounge, duty-free shop and disabled access / facilities. In 2009, a lounge named Silk Route was opened at the terminal. It provides facilities such as food, newspapers and the internet.

The cargo village terminal I occupies an area of 2,787m², and includes freight forwarders, warehouses, airline offices, banks, courier service, gem and diamond exchange and customs. The 1,858m² cargo village terminal II has facilities for refrigerated and frozen cargo, airmail sorting centre and offshore avionics workshop.

Airlines and destinations

Control Tower at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka
Control Tower at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka


The following airlines have scheduled services to Bandaranaike International Airport as of October 5th 2010:

Aircrafts in ramp area of Bandaranaike International Airport
Aircrafts in ramp area of Bandaranaike International Airport
Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air-India Express Chennai
Arkefly Amsterdam
Cathay Pacific Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong, Singapore
China Eastern Airlines Kunming
Condor Frankfurt
Emirates Dubai, Malé, Singapore
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai
Gulf Air Bahrain
Indian Airlines Chennai
Jetairfly Brussels [begins 31 October]
Jet Airways Chennai, Delhi [begins 5 November], Mumbai [begins 5 November]
JetLite Chennai
Kingfisher Airlines Bangalore [resumes 1 November], Chennai
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur
Meridiana Milan-Malpensa
Mihin Lanka Dubai, Gaya, Kuwait, Tiruchirapalli, Varanasi
Oman Air Malé, Muscat
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia
Saudi Arabian Airlines Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh
Singapore Airlines Singapore
SpiceJet Chennai [begins 9 October]
SriLankan Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Bengaluru, Chennai, Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Guangzhou [begins 28 January], Hong Kong, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, London-Heathrow, Malé, Milan-Malpensa, Mumbai, Muscat, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome-Fiumicino, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Tokyo-Narita, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi


The airport has been a popular cargo port for a long time and it is not unusual to see a few cargo aircraft at the airport at any given time. The cargo airlines that have served Colombo in the past include China Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa. Currently MidEx Airlines is the most active freight carrier at the airport, operating daily flights from Al Ain, followed closely by Expo Aviation.

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Etihad Crystal Cargo Abu Dhabi, Chennai Cargo
Expoair Cargo Karachi, Kozhikode, Lahore, Malé, Visakhapatnam Cargo
Midex Airlines Al Ain Cargo
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha, Lahore, Thiruvananthapuram Cargo

SLAF Katunayake

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 base for several flying squadrons as well as ground units. The Air Force Hospital is also based at SLAF Katunayake.

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

Lodger Squadrons

  • No. 4 (VIP) Helicopter Squadron
  • No. 5 Jet Squadron
  • No. 10 Fighter Squadron
  • No. 12 Squadron

Incidents at Bandaranaike International Airport

  • On 4 December 1974, Martinair Flight 138, a Douglas DC-8 flew into the side of a mountain while on landing approach to Bandaranaike. All 191 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • May 3, 1986 - Air Lanka Flight 512. In an operation carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers), a bomb in an Air Lanka (now SriLankan Airlines) Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 100 exploded while passengers where boarding for a short-hop flight to Malé, in the Maldives. 14 passengers were killed, and the aeroplane was written off.
  • March 24, 2000 - An Antonov 12BK operated by cargo carrier Sky Cabs crashed due to lack of fuel. It crashed into two houses killing four people on the ground and six of the eight crew on board.
  • July 24, 2001 - Bandaranaike Airport attack. 14 members of the LTTE Black Tiger suicide squad infiltrated Katunayake air base, destroying eight military aircraft on the tarmac. They then moved to the civilian airport, destroying two Airbus aircraft and damaging three others. Seven government personnel were killed.
  • 4 February 2000- An Ilyushin 18D cargo plane operated by Phoenix Aviation and charted to Sri Lankan cargo company Expo Aviation was landing in Colombo on a flight from Dubai. However, the copilot set the altimeter incorrectly and the landing gear contacted the surface of the sea, 10.7 km (6.6 mi) short of the runway. A belly landing was performed 50 m (160 ft) to the right of the runway.
  • September 8, 2005 - While a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 taxied for takeoff on an international flight from Colombo to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, air traffic controllers received an anonymous telephone call concerning a possible bomb on the aircraft. The crew was informed about this call and elected to perform an emergency evacuation. As a result of the evacuation, there were 62 injuries among the 420 passengers and 22 crew members. One of the passengers died as a result of injuries received during the evacuation, and 17 passengers were hospitalized. No explosive devices were found after a search of the aircraft.
  • March 25, 2007 - At 0045 the Tamil Tigers bombed the Sri Lanka Air Force base adjoining the international airport. Three Air Force personnel were killed and 16 injured when light aircraft dropped two bombs, although no aircraft were damaged. Passengers already on aircraft were disembarked and led to a shelter, while others trying to reach the airport were turned away and approach roads closed. The airport was temporarily shut down following the incident, but normal flights resumed at 0330.
  • April 27, 2007 - The airport was closed, power cut to the city and anti-aircraft guns fired when suspicious aircraft were spotted in the area. [ Sri Lanka shuts airport fearing attack | The Australian ]

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General Info
Country Sri Lanka
Time UTC+6DT
Latitude 7.180756
07° 10' 50.72" N
Longitude 79.884117
079° 53' 02.82" E
Elevation 30 feet
9 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 002° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Near City Colombo/Katunayake
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

ATIS 127.2

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
04/22 10991 x 148 feet
3350 x 45 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME KAT BANDARANAIKE 074X 112.7 1.5 NM 041.4

Fuel Jet A1+, Jet A1 with icing inhibitor.

100/130 MIL Spec, low lead, aviation gasoline (BLUE)
Other Fluids LHOX, Low and high pressure oxygen servicing

OX, Indicates oxygen servicing when type of servicing is unknown

CAUTION Bird haz.
FUEL A1(Ceylon Petrol Corp, fone C94-16-225-3376)

The content above was published at in 2010.
We don't guarantee the information is fresh and accurate. The data may be wrong or outdated.
For more up-to-date information please refer to other sources.

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