‘President’s vision is to make SL aviation hub in the region’ | Daily News

‘President’s vision is to make SL aviation hub in the region’

With the new aircraft apron, which will be vested in the public today, the number of aircraft that can be parked will increase from 26 to 49. This would be a turning point in the field of air travel in Sri Lanka.
With the new aircraft apron, which will be vested in the public today, the number of aircraft that can be parked will increase from 26 to 49. This would be a turning point in the field of air travel in Sri Lanka.

The airline industry is the first sector in the world economy that was affected badly due to the pandemic, Aviation and Export Zones Development State Minister D.V. Chanaka Dinushan said yesterday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on the international aviation sector, he said.

The State Minister said that Sri Lanka also faced the same situation due the pandemic. Thousands of aircraft had to be grounded as never before, in the face of unprecedented downturn in the global economy.

“Under the circumstances that prevailed, we too had to shut down the country’s airports. However, transforming the pandemic situation to our benefit, the Government took steps to develop the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) as suited to future requirements and demand,” he said.

State Minister
D.V. Chanaka Dinushan

The main reason for this was Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the President in 2014 who took the initiative to implement a number of special development projects at the BIA.

The country incurred a loss of Rs. 16 billion due to the suspension of the project by the Good Governance Government. The suspension of the project deprived the country of an opportunity to complete this landmark project several years ago.

Based on the Prime Minister’s intervention, he was able to obtain financial assistance of the Japanese Government, for this purpose, State Minister Chanaka said. Accordingly, development projects Package A and Package B commenced and were expedited.

The main objective of this endeavour was to increase the annual air passenger capacity to 15 million. As of now the capacity to handle passengers at BIA stands at around six million annually. However, even now, 11 million passenger movements are being carried out. With the new development plan being implemented, it will be possible to handle 15 million passengers at BIA annually. It is also intended to double the 60,000 flights movements annually, which are being handled at present.

With the new aircraft apron, which will be vested in the public today (25), the number of aircraft that can be parked will increase from 26 to 49. This would be a turning point in the field of air travel in Sri Lanka.

The vision of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to make Sri Lanka an aviation hub in the region, the State Minister said. It is a fact that will contribute not only to the Tourism industry, but directly to the improvement of the process of manufacture and exports. Required steps have already been taken to transform the airport into the best in the region and it has been ensured that the airport is rich in every sector.

Accordingly, the extent of the terminal area which was 90,000 square metres will increase to 275,000. The number of check-in counters will increase from 53 to 149. Instead of 21 emigration (departure) desks there will be 53 in all, as well as 83 instead of 27 immigration (arrival) windows. The airside Security control areas will be increased from eight to 30. Other facilities will also be improved in conjunction with this.

The most modern technology has been added to enable passengers to register in a contactless manner as well as many other tasks. We have been able to bring the Bandaranaike International Airport into the best first-hundred airports in the world, State Minister Chanaka said. The intention of the Ministry of Aviation and Export Zone Development is to ensure that every air passenger will be able to reach their destination without any inconvenience and providing strength through the airport to the economy of this country, he said.

 


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