This Saturday I went to Colombo airport to drop off my wife. Usually once I drop off someone, I leave the airport as soon as they pass the scanners to go to check in counters. But since this was Saturday morning and there was nothing much to do afterwards, me and another friend who came to drop off his wife decided to hang out a little longer.
He remembered that there was some place you can watch take offs and landings which he visited when he was a kid. We decided to find that place and spot some aircrafts.
It was not that difficult to find it. As soon as you come out of departure terminal, there is a sign post labeled “Public Viewing Area” pointing to your right hand direction. after that there is no direction posts. We had to ask few security guys for directions before we find the place.
It is looks like a small-scale pavilion that you find in a small school ground. You have to buy a 20/= ticket and sit on concrete stares to watch aircrafts through a very high wire fence. There were at least 50-60 people and there was lot of space for children to play. Most of the people there seemed to be extended families who has come to drop off someone at the air port. But I noticed at least one couple on a date.
The view is good but not great. Viewing angle is from ground level. It would have been great if there was a raised viewing platform. You can see few aircrafts that are parked and also about 70% of the runway. Newly built airport building which houses gates block about 30% of the view. Before it was build, entire runway should have been visible.
At the viewing area there is a decommissioned propeller aircraft (don’t know which modal it is) parked. And there is one discarded jet engine and few old broken propellers on the ground. There is a canteen which sells regular Kimbula banis, Malu pan, soft drinks and plain tea.
Place is in bit of a run down state. It looks like the it has been forgotten while all the renovation work is done in rest of the air port. This place has potential to develop in to a good restaurant with great but noisy views. Similar to harbor room in Grand Oriental Hotel. But first you need some extra air traffic to make that happen. While we were there we only spotted three parked aircrafts, about two landings and three take offs. That was during a 3 hour time span. Airport looked kind of empty. May be it was not the peak hours.
I didn’t have a good camera with me. Above pic was taken with my phone camera which is nearing end of its life. As you can see it does not even focus. And apparently it’s not allowed to take pictures. One of the friendly air force personal told us so when we were taking pictures. But once he is not looking, we noticed most of the people were clicking with their cameras.
Overall its a nice place to hang out if you have few hours to kill. With some investments it can become a great place.
Tags: Aircraft Spoting, Aircraft Watching, Airport Public Viewing Area, Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, Colombo Airport, Colombo International Airport, Katunayake International Airport, Sri Lanka, Travel
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