- Japan-funded BIA expansion is the largest development carried by the Govt.
- Aircraft parking slots increased from 26 to 49
- Passenger handling capacity to increase to 15 m per year
- Check-in counters increased from 53 to 127
- Departure emigration counters increased from 21 to 53, while arrival immigration counters increased from 27 to 83
- Aviation State Minister D.V. Chanaka says this is a significant turning point in the history of SL’s aviation industry
- Full expansion project expected to be completed in 2023
- Expect more world-renowned airlines to operate to Colombo post-pandemic
Marking a milestone in the aviation industry in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the new aircraft apron of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake today.
The new aircraft apron is part of the biggest, and long-overdue, development project of the multi-level second terminal of the BIA. The new aircraft apron adds 23 more slots to the existing 26, thereby increasing the total parking facility to 49.
“The expansion project of BIA is considered the largest development project since 2014 and will undoubtedly be a significant turning point in the history of the aviation industry in Sri Lanka,” Aviation State Minister D.V. Chanaka said.
The BIA expansion project was jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as then President and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014.
This expansion project is funded by Japan with an investment of Rs. 107 billion, making this the largest development project carried out by the Government.
However, the former ‘Yahapalana’ Government suspended the project, which incurred a loss of Rs. 16 billion to the State coffers and the project was resumed after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office in 2019.
The expansion project was recommended in November 2020 under the patronage of Premier Rajapaksa and the full project is expected to be completed in 2023.
The aviation industry was one of the first and worst impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of aircrafts had to be grounded in the face of an unprecedented downturn in the global economy. Sri Lanka’s aviation also faced the same situation and had to shut down the country’s airports.
However, transforming the pandemic situation to Sri Lanka’s benefit, the Government took steps to develop the BIA for future requirements and demand under two stages — A and B.
In addition to the new apron, the extent of the terminal area, which was 90,000 square meters will increase up to 275,000. The number of check-in counters will be increased from 53 to 149. The 21 emigration (departure) desks will be increased to 53, while the 27 immigration (arrival) windows will be increased to 83.
The air side security control areas will also be increased from eight to 30.
“A steep rise in the number of passengers using airports for their travel is looked at when the lifestyles of people revert to normalcy post-COVID. Our objective and the duty is to cater to this increasing aviation service requirement successfully. Steps will be taken to enhance the functionality of the key areas such as efficiency of customer service, staff and safety of passengers,” Aviation State Minister said.
He also said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed to promptly complete this development project.
“President Rajapaksa expects to make it a ‘smart terminal’, and plans have already been made to complete the construction work of the second terminal by 2023. This project is expected to create a large number of employment opportunities. We will also see substantial growth in the economy as well,” he added.
The State Minister shared that the project is planned to be carried out using the latest technological expertise, which would help execute the project in an environmentally-friendly manner.
The Government believes world-renowned airlines will begin to increase their arrivals to BIA while airline operations will rise dramatically once the project is completed in 2023.
“Our goal is to make BIA one of the main facets of Sri Lanka’s economy. BIA will function as a gateway that takes the locally manufactured products of small and medium-scale entrepreneurs to the international market. The airport has the capacity to function as a facilitator to Sri Lanka’s most lucrative economic hubs,” Chanaka said.