Sri Lankan Aviation History

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Aviation History of Sri Lanka (Q and A)

When did aviation begin in Sri Lanka?
In 1911
What was the first aircraft to arrive Sri Lanka?
Bleriot Monoplane
When and where was Sri Lanka’s first aerodrome established? What was the first aircraft to arrive at this airfield?
  • Ratmalana (27th November 1935)
  • First aircraft - A de Havilland Puss Moth of the Madras Flying Club
When was the Civil aircraft registry instituted?
In 1936
Who is known as the father of aviation in Sri Lanka?
Sir. John Kotalawala
In 1943 Ceylon took a giant step into international aviation. What was this milestone?
Started “Qantas Empire Airways Indian Ocean Service”. It was a regular service during 1943-1946 operated Catalina Flying boats taking off from Koggala Lake.
Air Ceylon was established even before Ceylon gained independence. What is the first type of aircraft to fly in Air Ceylon?
  • Douglas DC-3 Dakota
  • Vihara Maha Devi
  • Sita Devi
  • Sunethra Devi
How long did Air Ceylon be in operation for?
For 32 years.
Who was the first Ceylonese captain to fly in an Air Ceylon flight?
Capt. Peter Fernando
What were the four major types of aircraft operated by Air Ceylon?
Doglas DC-4 Skymaster Laxapana, Hawker Siddeley Trident, Avro 748
When did Air Lanka commence operation?
on 1st September, 1979
Who is the first fully rated professional female pilot of Sri Lanka?
Capt. Menaka Ashi Fernando
In which year did Emirates merge with Air Lanka?
In 1998
When was the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) abolished? What was it subsequently formed as?
In 2002 and formation of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka
What were the major improvements carried out at the airfield after the DCA took control of RML airport in 1946? Who carried out the actual development work?
  • The runway was extended to 2000 yards and it could accommodate aircraft of 75,000 lbs by 1948.
  • Maintenance and improvement to RMA was done by DPW
KIA underwent a major expansion program with Canadian assistance and completed in 1965. What was the new runway length at KIA during this period? When was the new terminal building opened?
Runway length is 11,050ft
KIA new terminal building was opened on 5th August 1968
Airports in Sri Lanka
When did BIA commence its phase 11 development project?
In 2003
For what purpose was Palali airport Jaffna used by Air Ceylon during their flight operations?
It was used by Air Ceylon as an intermediate point during their operation from or to Madras
How and why did we lose the Puttalam runway?
The Holcim Cement factory was built on the runway.
What is the longest runway in Sri lanka after BIA?
Minneriya-Higurakgoda (Mattala is not accepted as an answer as it is not commissioned yet)
What is the organization that carried out development at Amparai airfield in 1957?
Gal Oya Development Board
When was Anuradapura airfield constricted? Who carried out the development work?
In 1959 by Gal Oya Development Board. It was completed in 1960
All airfields except 2 were taken over by the SLAF under emergency regulations in 1983. What are the two airfields that remained under Civil Aviation control?
BIA and Ratmalana
Katukurunda (KTK) was the only airfield in Sri Lanka that has 2 runways. What was the main reason for the loss of one runway?
Bad and ill-advised political decisions
China Bay (CBY) airfield was open to civil aviation in 1952. What is the main aviation hazard at this airfield?
The Prima factory was built on the approach of China Bay airfield.
How many domestic airports are currently functioning in Sri Lanka?
13 airports

Historical Photos

Further Reading

--Gishan Chaturanga 23:25, 19 May 2011 (MDT)

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