BIA Terminal-2 project gets under way | Sunday Observer

BIA Terminal-2 project gets under way

15 March, 2020
The proposed Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Terminal-2 Project
The proposed Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Terminal-2 Project

Several mega development projects started by the Rajapaksa government were pushed back by a minimum of two years by the Yahapalanaya Government and one such project was the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Terminal-2 Project.

The Colombo Port City, the Lotus Tower project, extension of the Southern Expressway and rail link to Hambantota, Outer Circular highway, Colombo Port Development, implementation of the third stage of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant and BIA development are just a few of such projects.

The Yahapalanaya Government stopped them and never bothered to recommence them causing huge losses to the economy and also having to pay huge legal fees for breaching of not only local but international contracts as well.

Undoubtedly, when Sri Lanka’s history is written, the ‘Sinhala only’ policy adopted by S.W. R. D. Bandaranaike, closed economic policy (or better known as Hal Polu Yugaya) by Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1972, two JVP instructions, 30-year LTTE separatist war, natural disasters such as tsunami and the near five-year rule of Yahapalanaya and the infamous Bond Scam which caused a huge negative economic impact will go down as the darkest periods.

Tourism is emerging as the number one foreign exchange earner from its current third position in Sri Lanka. Among the biggest infrastructure projects, the industry has been hopeful of benefiting are the extension of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Terminal-2 Project and the development of a passenger pier at the Colombo Harbour.

The previous Rajapaksa Government prepared project proposals and contracts were also approved. However, the projects were halted with the change of Government in 2015.

Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) Chairman Major General G. A. Chandrasiri, on Thursday said that due to the cancellation and breaching of contacts, the AASL had to pay damages to the Japanese company and when the contracts were renewed last month for the recommencement of the BIA second stage development, costs had gone up by around 20 percent due to escalation of construction costs.

“Finally the project is now under way. This is due to action by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.”

“The AASL marked another significant milestone with the signing of a contract for the second Passenger Terminal at the country’s main International Gateway - the BIA on March 12 in Colombo,” AASL Chairman Major General G. A. Chandrasiri said. Work on the project would commence in three months and would be ready by 2023.

He highlighted the strategic importance of developing infrastructural facilities at strategically important places, such as airports.

The Chairman said that the development programs are being implemented in line with President Rajapaksa’s policy statement.

“The BIA is overcrowded. It creates discomfort for passengers and all our stakeholders,” he said.

The new state-of-the-art passenger terminal will have the capacity to handle nine million passengers.

“This project, along with other re-modelling and re-structuring initiatives at the present terminal at the BIA together with other four airports (Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport, Colombo Airport, Ratmalana, Jaffna Airport and Batticaloa Airport) will provide the infrastructure to cater for 20 million passengers in 2025, which is the Government target,” Chandrasiri said.

Work on the project, comprising a new multilevel terminal building, Pier No 2 and Pier No 3 with a link concourse, a new parking apron and taxiways, elevated access roads, multi-storey car park and public utilities, will be undertaken by the Taisei Corporation of Japan.

Taisei has undertaken construction work on major airports in Japan, many other countries and the Olympic stadium in Japan.

The cost of the project, comprising construction cost of package A and package B, contingencies (10%) and Consultancy Services, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is US $ 550 million.

The proposed terminal at the BIA will create a world class image and standards of excellence for international airport architecture. The design of the terminal building reflects rich culture and heritage of Sri Lanka which would create a memorable experience for visitors to the airport. Environmental initiatives with energy saving technologies have been incorporated into the design of the terminal as measure for promoting the eco-friendly airport concept.

The green initiative would be one of the key components of the new terminal. When flying in to the BIA, the first glimpse of the airport would be a green roof. New baggage terminals will be introduced and a host of duty shops too would be opened, making BIA on par with other major airports such as Dubai and Singapore.

Passengers who use the Colombo Katunayake Expressway will go straight to the arrival and departure gates on the new terminal. The much talked about rail link will also be a reality where passengers will take a train to the Colombo Fort from the airport.