Palaly airbase can be developed into a regional airport without further appropriation of land, an Indian government research team has recommended to the Sri Lankan government.
Opportunities for developing Palaly were studied by an Indian government-sponsored team, led by Chennai Airport director Deepak Shastri, in March last year.
Presenting its findings this week, the team recommended that the existing runway and terminal facilities could be improved to accommodate civilian aircraft carrying up to 100 passengers from regional destinations.
Mindful of local opposition to further land-grabs, the team advised against expanding the existing runway or building a new one.
The airbase is currently used by the Sri Lankan Air Force which runs a limited domestic service for civilian passengers.