Japan to invest Rs 107B

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 16 2020

The construction of the second passenger terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with an investment of Rs 107 billion is scheduled to commence on Wednesday (18) with the participation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development, D.V. Chanaka said that despite several attempts the construction of the second phase of the BIA was delayed due to various reasons.

According to him, Japan has agreed to invest more than Rs 107 billion on the project, which is expected to increase the handling capacity of the airport to 15 billion.

The project, which the State Minister describes as the largest undertaking by the Government is scheduled to be completed in three years. 

The BIA has been handling nearly 10 million passengers before the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic hit the global economy, crippling many sectors including Tourism.

The first terminal at the airport was built to only handle nearly six million passengers and previous governments were discussing the possibility of expanding the project.

“When the new Government was formed, I was offered the State ministerial portfolio of Aviation and Export Zones development. Sri Lanka’s main international airport, BIA is one of the major and key establishments which comes under the purview of my Ministry. Taking into account the latest developments in the field of aviation, BIA will be modified to suit the rapidly transforming world, Chanaka said.

“A steep rise in the number of passengers using airports for their travel is looked ahead when the lifestyles of people revert to normalcy, once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end. Our objective and duty is to cater to this increasing aviation service requirement successfully. Steps will be taken to enhance the functionality of key areas such as efficiency of customer service and staff as well as the safety of passengers,” he said.

The second phase of the airport is expected to be executed as an environment-friendly development project. The new multi-level terminal which expands over an area of 180, 000 square metres will consist of separate departure and arrival terminals to make the airport more passenger- friendly.

“BIA and  Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport will be developed to handle international passengers while other airports will be developed to fulfil domestic aviation requirements,” Chanaka said.

Following the completion of the project, he hopes that world renowned airlines would increase operations to Sri Lanka.(MA)

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 16 2020

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