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It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd and serves as the hub of Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and Cinnamon Air, the domestic carrier. In 1964 Anil Moonesinghe, the Minister of Communications, started the building of a new international airport to replace Ratmalana, with Canadian aid.
The other airport serving the city of Colombo is the Ratmalana Airport, primarily serving domestic destinations. 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.
In addition, the government has decided to invest on a second runway at the airport, enabling the A380 to land in Colombo.
There is also a plan to build another taxiway to handle the A380 in the future.
Bandaranaike International Airport is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380.
Future projects 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.
Construction of the new approach channels to the airport will begin in April 2017, and expected to be completed by 2020 .
On 7 November 1971 the first Boeing 747 landed at the airport.
The Boeing 747-200B was operated by Condor carrying German tourists from Frankfurt.