The Emirates management has drawn up plans to minimize the issues with the Katunayake Airport reconstruction program from January 6 to April 6. Emirates airline which operates 41 flights to and from Colombo a week has rescheduled its flights for the duration of the day-time closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).
“As a result, 13 of our flights to and from Colombo have been cancelled. These are our daily flights from Colombo to Singapore, and one of our five daily flights to Dubai. For the duration of the day-time airport closure, Emirates will continue to operate four daily flights between Colombo and Dubai,” said an airline official. Earlier the airlines’ arrivals and departures happened during the day as well as night.
Country Manager, Emirates, Chandana de Silva said all passengers have been informed well in advance about the new schedule. “However there will be some inconvenience when there is cram up of a 24 hour flight to 12 hours.
All airlines are doing their best to minimize the impact which cannot be avoided when undertaking maintenance of an airport which is done all over the world,” De Silva said. Emirates will continue to operate four daily flights between Colombo and Dubai during the day time closure of the BIA, connecting Sri Lanka to a global network of more than 150 destinations. De Silva also confirmed to the Business Observer earlier they had no plans to operate to Mattala.
Emirates already operates flights to many regional airports from Dubai. These are however not alternatives for passengers travelling to Colombo.
Asked if Emirates had gone through similar experiences due to construction and reconstruction programs of airports in other countries, he added that it had experienced such difficulties in the past. “In fact, an 80-day runway closure at Dubai International Airport necessitated the reduction of services to 41 destinations,” he said.