Travellers flying into, or out of Colombo during the first three months of 2017, may be affected by the on-going Sri Lanka airport runway renovation at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). The renovations to the runway have been scheduled to take place between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, between 6th January and 7th April 2017. This major three month exercise is the first such re-surfacing programme carried out since the opening of the airport in 1986.
Closure of the airport during much of the day will affect many of the one hundred and seventy-five daily aircraft movements and have a knock-on effect on airport operations and hotels. The ‘anchor airline’ SriLankan Airlines has been forced to cancel around two hundred flights during the renovation period, which is likely to cost the national carrier around USD 47 million in revenue.
Strategies in place to minimise disruption
The airport, along with user airlines, has put into place an number of strategies to minimise disruption to the travelling public, including:
- Rescheduling of daytime flights
- Encouraging self and web check-in
- Encouraging passenger arrival at the airport five to six hours prior to departure, even if they have already checked in, and no later than 90 minuted before scheduled departure
- Restrictions on non-travelling visitors to the airport lobby area
- Making use of the Mattala airport as a stopover during the daily closure period – this will affect flights such as UL868 to Beijing and UL866 to Shanghai. SriLankan Airlines will make lounge facilities available for Business Class passengers with all passengers receiving either meals or meal vouchers at Mattala.
- The Embarkation Tax has been increased to Rs. 7,000, for all departing passengers
SriLankan Airlines has also advised passengers that should there be any change in the advised schedule, they will be contacted directly at the contact details they have provided.
Should you have further queries, you may contact the airport on 0197335555 for any inquiries regarding flights and travel procedure at the BIA.