SL Prez instructs completion of 2nd BIA terminal before 2023

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed officials to complete the construction of the second terminal of the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo before the end of 2023.

Construction of the second terminal, which began in 2014, was scheduled for completion in 2017, the Colombo Page newspaper said in a report on Thursday.

But according to experts, many aspects of the design are out of date due to the lack of construction.

The President made the statement during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat Wednesday on the future plans of the State Ministry of Aviation and Export Zone Development.

A lengthy discussion was held on the course of action to be taken in the face of the adverse impact on the airport and airlines caused by the disruption of international flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Rajapaksa instructed the authorities to work day and night taking advantage of the disruption of airport operations and complete the construction work as soon as possible.

On completion of the second Terminal building, BIA would will be able to handle total capacity of 15 million passengers annually with the number of Terminal Gates increasing two-fold by 2023.

Construction of a multilevel terminal building with an approximate floor area of 180,000 m2, will have arrivals and departures separated vertically. It woul have modern baggage handling facilities; more space for passengers and new Immigration/ Emigration facilities with a bigger apron to accommodate 36 aircrafts.

It is also designed to provide an efficient service to passengers through e-Gate facilities. In parallel, a parking lot will also be constructed adjacent to the airport.

It was noted at the discussion that the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) has operated 270 flights since January servicing over 12,000 passengers, the Colombo Page reported.

There are also plans to expand the Ratmalana Airport with state-of-the-art technology. Special attention was also paid to the promotion of inland flights to Sandatenna, Sita Eliya and Digana with a focus on the Central Province.

The President instructed the Civil Aviation Authority and SriLankan Airlines to launch a joint pilot training school. He pointed out that foreign students could also be given the opportunity.