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Runway renovation to close BIA temporarily daily basis
The runway of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) will be overlaid next year and as a result, the airport will be closed from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. from January 6 to April 6.
Daily Mirror learned that the current runway, built 30 years ago, has worn out and that the overlaying is now an essential and inevitable modification. International regulatory bodies had recommended the renovation many years ago, but as the BIA functions with a single runway, the renovation delayed. Nevertheless, experts have informed that if the necessary modification does not take place, the airport may even come to a halt.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority sources told Daily Mirror that there were 25 operators at the moment, while the weekly air traffic movement was around 1150. The temporary closure will affect this air traffic movement as flights have been cancelled and rescheduled. Although the runway closes, airport terminals and other services will be accessible to the public. According to Airport and Aviation services (AASL) officials, only 10% of flights have been cancelled as most flights have been rescheduled. The renovation is expected to cost a staggering 49 million dollars which will be borne by the AASL. They also mentioned that the consultant for the renovation was Netherlands –
Airport consultant Kathik and New Era Airport designer from China is the contractor who has undertaken the task.
The top management from SriLankan Airlines has expressed concern as 200 flights of the national carrier will be cancelled. Thus, the carrier will incur a revenue loss of 47million dollars. However, Airport officials remain positive of the outcome as they believe the renovation is a must. They pointed out how International Airports such as the ones in Malé and Dubai closed temporarily in recent years to accommodate runway renovations. The temporary closure will affect both national and international carriers. The plan to renovate the runway was announced last year as airlines had to be informed a year ahead.
Aviation Authority sources also told us that it was the prerogative of the airline to decide whether or not to fly to the Mattala International Airport.
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