There’s hope that the Ratmalana airport may be in for better days.

Colombo’s domestic airport at suburban Ratmalana looks like it is trapped in another era, when air travel was undertaken only under extremely urgent circumstances. There is nothing modern or swank about the airport, which caters to services to Jaffna’s Palaly airport and a few other north eastern destinations. The Sri Lankan Air Force personnel and those belonging to a private firm handle passengers at the airport. There is the occasional charter tour too.

Passengers are few, and the size of the aircraft, too, is proportionate. In mid-August when this correspondent travelled from Colombo to Palaly, the 14-seater Cessna was full. In mid-October, when he again travelled the same route, there were three passengers in all.

Just over 40 km away, Colombo’s International Airport is in a totally different league. It’s as swanky and classy as any new airport in the region and, with each passing month, is adding additional facilities to cater to the ever-increasing demand. There is hope that some of that growth will rub off on the Ratmalana airport. As optimism in the air grows, this airport might be in for better days.