Feasibility studies have commenced for the transformation of Hingurakgoda Airport, also known as Minneriya Airport, into an international civil airport. The Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (AASL) has initiated these studies, as confirmed by AASL Chairman Maj. Gen. (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri in an interview with The Sunday Morning Business.

The decision to develop Hingurakgoda Airport into an international civil airport was made earlier in the year by the Sri Lankan Government. AASL is now undertaking the initial feasibility study, which will be followed by the issuance of tenders and the necessary approvals from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Regarding the timeline for the commencement of development activities at Hingurakgoda Airport, Chandrasiri mentioned that it is too early to provide a specific schedule, as there are various prerequisites that must be addressed before the airport can be upgraded to international standards.

Additionally, AASL has also initiated feasibility studies for the expansion of Jaffna International Airport. The expansion primarily focuses on extending the runway to accommodate narrow-body regional jets like the Airbus A320/321 and the Boeing 737 Max. Currently, Jaffna International Airport can only handle turboprop aircraft such as the 72-passenger ATR 72-600.

Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva had earlier highlighted the benefits of developing Hingurakgoda Airport into an international civil airport, emphasizing its strategic location for accessing popular tourist destinations such as Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, and Dambulla. The proposed improvements include extending the existing 2,287-meter runway to 2,800 meters, constructing an access road to the runway, establishing an air navigation system, and building an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and passenger terminal at the airport to accommodate larger aircraft, including A330s.