BIA’s new interim terminal to add 2 million capacity | Sunday Observer

BIA’s new interim terminal to add 2 million capacity

PICTURE BY KELUM LIYANAGE
PICTURE BY KELUM LIYANAGE

The existing terminal of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) will be upgraded further to increase passenger capacity by two million a year, up from the present six million capacity, Executive Director of Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd, Johanne Jayaratne says.

According to Jayaratne, the planned interim terminal which will be built at a cost of US$ 15 million to US$ 19 million, will be up and running by end 2018 and help ease the mounting pressure of congestion in the airport.

“The interim terminal solution will help BIA meet its increasing passenger demand in the short term as we are presently running well over optimum capacity of 6 million passengers, a year. Last year, the BIA handled about 9.4 million passengers,” Jayaratne said.

However, the AASL Director

noted that although the interim terminal will be an extra cost as plans for a brand new terminal is also in the pipeline, the expenditure will not be in vain as this will be an add on to the current terminal on the other side of the building.

“In the long term, it will probably morph into a budget terminal to serve solely budget airlines or perhaps a hybrid terminal to accommodate both budget and domestic air travellers arriving here to catch an international flight. In the beginning, the interim terminal will only accommodate departing passengers and we are hoping to build it to handle about 2 million passengers,” Jayaratne elaborated.

Pointing out that the plan for the interim terminal has presently passed beyond the ‘concept stage’ to defining the ‘Request for Proposal’ documents, Jayaratne said AASL has plans to float the tenders before the end of this year and to complete the project before the end of 2018.

“If its complete, then it should take the pressure off the congestion we are facing right now,” Jayaratne noted.

Explaining the revamping plans underway, he said AASL hopes to increase the check-in counters

from the present 54 counters to 65 while immigration points will be increased from about 16 to 24 and shifted to the first floor of the building near the peer area.

“Following the check-in, passengers will have to walk straight and use an escalator to reach the immigration points,” the AASL Executive Director said.

He further noted that the location of the x-ray screening machines (where the final screening process takes place before boarding a flight) will be shifted to a centralized location as opposed to the present system where individual x-ray machines are placed in respective gates and dedicated to airlines.

“The change will mean that all departing passengers from all airlines will in future be able to use one screening point which will have around 5-8 centralized screening machines. Passing that point, there will also be one open seating area for all airlines,” the AASL Executive Director explained.

A crew from the Sunday Observer who took on a fact-finding mission to the Airport last week observed that there were pockets of renovations taking place the premises which included the construction of a new World Duty Free shop in the Departures area. 

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