go to content go to search box go to global site navigation


Getting around by air

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.


With increased air service to Sri Lanka from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, there are many competitive airfares available.

Australia & New Zealand

Connections are on Asian carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Using Emirates requires major backtracking.

Airports & Airlines

On paper, Sri Lanka has two international airports, but in practice, almost all airlines fly into Bandaranaike International Airport.

Bandaranaike International Airport

Sri Lanka’s primary international airport is Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, 30km north of Colombo. There are 24-hour money-changing facilities in the arrivals and departures halls as well as ATMs, mobile-phone dealers, taxi services and more.

Arriving is fairly hassle-free as touts are mostly kept away. Transit passengers and those checking in early should note, however, that the terminals remain very spartan in terms of amenities.

The airport is the hub for the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, which operates an extensive network to Asia and the Middle East. It has a safety record on par with other international carriers. Local connections are provided by Cinnamon Air.

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (www.airport.lk/mria) is 15km north of Hambantota near the south coast. A notorious white elephant, it normally has one scheduled flight a day, on a budget carrier to Dubai. Media reports note that these flights often carry no passengers. The large terminal is shiny, but normally there are no services. If you are flying in, be sure to have transportation arranged in advance.


SriLankan Airlines links Colombo nonstop with London. Connecting through on a carrier such as Austrian, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines is common.


Sri Lanka is well served by major Asian carriers, including budget favourite Air Asia. Service from India is competitive between several carriers.

Many visitors combine a visit to Sri Lanka with the Maldives. SriLankan Airlines and Emirates fly between Colombo and Malé.

North America

You’re literally going halfway around the world from Canada and the USA; from the west coast connect through Asia, from the east coast connect through the Middle East or India.