The recent resurfacing of the runway of Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport marked an important milestone in the country’s aviation history.
In support of Lanka’s aim to develop the industry, to expand tourism, and especially in enabling bigger commercial aircraft such as the A380 to land successfully, the runway rehabilitation project was a long felt need.
Three decades ago when the runway was commissioned and constructed, the Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), served as the design and supervision consultant, working jointly with Engineering Consultants (Pvt) Ltd (ECL).
Following the Airport and Aviation Services Limited (AASL) decision to embark on its first major rehabilitation of the original runway, and completing due tender proceedings, NACO and ECL were once again tasked with the colossal responsibility to conduct the design review and construction supervision for upgrading the runway.
ECL, as pioneers in multi-disciplinary consulting have been endorsed as the most respected engineering services provider in the industry, providing a diverse range of services with expertise to handle the most challenging projects.
Rehabilitating the existing runway posed a major operational challenge for NACO and ECL. The BIA runway was closed for operations from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm daily, for a period of three months, from 6 January to 6 April. As a result, the contracting and supervision team were only able to work on the runway during that 8-hour period each day.
Air traffic and operations at the Airport had to resume outside those working hours on an ongoing basis. Due to such anaggressively phased project timeline there was no room for mistakes and ensuring zero risks
While the construction supervision was challenging, given the very aggressive schedule and the number of affected parties, the ECL team worked tirelessly ensuring that the project was completed within time and costs tightly controlled and maintained within the budget.
The critical implementation of construction safety procedures when closing and re-opening of the runway throughout the timescale was another daunting task which ECL successfully managed. In fact, ECL has won aviation kudos for the implementation of the project minus any mishaps.
Every engineering infrastructure project is unique and must be approached with a solid understanding of the requirements, technical skills, and engineering creativity to be able to deliver the project successfully, on time and within budget. The BIA runway project was a formidable challenge to everyone, especially as the risks were high and logistics of utmost importance. However quality and safety was not comprised at any stage during the project. ECL takes pride in their ability to complete the project on-time with no accidents or delays andhas been able to deliver an exceptional project outcome.
ECL continues to provide clients with an exceptional service helping clients take projects from concept to completion and beyond bringing in expertise and insights gained from work on other projects completed locally and globally.
A few ongoing local projects which showcase ECL expertise are the Port City reclamation, the development of Fisheries Harbours in the Southern part of the country, the Mahaweli Water Security Project, and Kandy City wastewater project.