US$12 mln interim terminal at BIA in 18 months

Sri Lanka is set to establish an interim departure terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) at a cost of approximately US$12 million in line with proposed targeted tourist arrival figures following promotions campaigns set to take off early next year.

An interim terminal costing around $10-12 million will be established at the BIA since the second phase of the expansion at the airport would be completed only by end 2021, Airport and Aviation Services Ltd Executive Director Johanne Jayaratne told the Business Times on Wednesday.

He noted that the interim terminal solution would be for departures only to process around two million departing passengers as this is where the airport experienced most congestion.

The interim terminal would be located next to the existing terminal and would be completed within a period of 18 months or sooner, Mr. Jayaratne said.

Currently airport authorities are working on the specifications of the proposed interim terminal and following which they would float a tender by the end of the year or make a Request for Proposal (RFP).

The Government has decided to increase capacity to the existing terminal envisaging the increase in tourist traffic in the wake of the global tourism promotion campaign set to be launched by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). The bureau’s campaign early next year is expected to generate an influx of tourists.

Sri Lanka is targeting four million visitors by 2020 and in line with this, new infrastructure is in place to ensure authorities would be proactive to future challenges, Mr. Jayaratne said.

At present the existing BIA terminal has a capacity of six million passengers but it was noted that they had processed 9.4 million in 2016.

Projections are that the capacity at the BIA is likely to increase this year to about 10.2 million, Mr. Jayaratne said adding that the interim terminal would be a basic one with no frills.

The second stage of the proposed expansion of the BIA with a second terminal is expected to be completed in 2021 at a cost of $470 million and is currently underway with work on apron development having commenced about two months back. The terminal contract itself is currently being negotiated with the contractor, Mr. Jayaratne said.

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