Temporary Terminal to Ease Congestion at BIA: Minister

  • Assures Japan’s commitment to building second terminal at BIA, but funding delayed due to debt restructuring process
  • SriLankan Chief Ashok Pathirage stresses second terminal construction should be national priority 

In a bid to address congestion and enhance capacity at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA),  Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva announced plans for the construction of a temporary terminal at a cost of Rs. 6 billion. 

Speaking to journalists yesterday, he said that the temporary terminal will cater to an additional 1.5 million passengers till the completion of the second terminal. 

“I’ve allocated Rs. 6 billion to put up a temporary terminal and the tender process is underway. It is expected to be completed within 10 months,” he said, adding that there is ongoing repair work to maintain the status quo of the airport. 

The Minister said by the end of the year, the additional space provided by the temporary terminal will alleviate congestion at BIA. 

At present, the airport handles around 9 million passengers annually, exceeding its capacity of around 6 million. 

The Minister also outlined that Japan has assured its commitment to building the second terminal, but explained that the delay in funding is due to ongoing debt restructuring processes.

“Japan has assured the Government of enhanced loans for the construction of the second terminal, which is expected to take at least two years to complete,” de Silva added.

SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said the development of the second airport terminal is a national priority. “Despite additional repairs and efforts to accommodate more passengers, the airport is fully packed during peak hours. Therefore, development of the second terminal should be Government’s priority,” he asserted. 

Pathirage noted that the need to expand passenger handling capacity to accommodate the predicted growth in tourism and airline operations. “Given the projections for tourism and increasing airline traffic, we must expand the capacity to at least 20 million passengers,” he added. 

(Source: Daily Mirror)