BIA new Apron, Taxiways open today
The much awaited and long overdue the new Apron and Taxiway constructed as a part of Bandaranaike International Airport Expansion Project will be open today (25) by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha with .Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Mizukoshi Hideaki.
JICA has been partnering with Sri Lankan Government for developing Bandaranaike International Airport for nearly four decades since 1980.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on the international aviation sector. Sri Lanka also faced the same situation due the Pandemic. Thousands of aircrafts had to be grounded, as never before in the face of unprecedented downturn in the global economy. Airline industry can be mentioned as the first field in the world economy that was affected badly due to the pandemic.
“Under the circumstances that prevailed, we too had to shut down the country’s airports. However, transforming the pandemic situation to our benefit, the government took steps to develop the Bandaranaike International Airport as suited to future requirements and demand, said State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development D.V.Chanaka.
The main factor for this was Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the President in the year 2014 taking steps to initiate a number of very special development activities at the BIA.
The country incurred a loss of Rs. 16 billion due to the suspension of the project by the Good Governance Government. The suspension of the Project deprived the country of an opportunity to complete this landmark project several years ago.
Based on Prime Minister’s intervention, he was able to obtain financial assistance of the Japanese Government, for this purpose. Accordingly, development projects Package A and Package B commenced and expedited.
The main objective of this endeavour was to increase the annual air passenger capacity to 15 million.
As of now the capacity to handle passengers at BIA stand around 6 million annually. However, even now, 11 million passenger movements are being carried out. With the new development plan being implemented, it will be possible to handle 15 million passengers at BIA annually. It is also intended to double the 60,000 flights movements annually, which are being handled at present.
With the new aircraft apron, which will be vested to public tomorrow (25), the number of aircraft that can be parked will increase from 26 to 49. This would be a turning point in the field of air travel in Sri Lanka.
The vision of President Gotabahaya Rajapaksa is to make Sri Lanka an aviation hub in the region. It is a fact that will contribute not only to the tourism industry but directly to the improvement of the process of manufacture and export. Required steps have already been taken to transform the airport into the best in the region and it has been ensured that the airport is rich in every sector.
Accordingly, the extent of the terminal area which was 90,000 m2 will increase up to 275,000. The number of check-in counters will increase from 53 to 149. Instead of 21 emigration (departure) desks there will be 53 in all, as well as 83 instead of 27 immigration (arrival) windows. The air side security control areas will be increased from 8 to 30. Other facilities will also be improved in conjunction with this.
The most modern technology has been added to enable passengers to register in a contactless manner as well as many other tasks. We have been able to bring the Bandaranaike International Airport into the best first-hundred airports in the world. The intention of the Ministry of Aviation and Export Zone Development is to ensure that every air passenger will be able to reach their destination without any inconvenience and providing strength through the airport to the economy of this country.