A temporary terminal would be built at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake within six months as a solution to the increasing congestion at the airport, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said today.
He told Parliament that the contract undertaken by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to build the second terminal at the BIA had to be cancelled as its estimate was 45 per cent higher than that of the government engineers.
“We will call for tenders again for the construction of the second terminal which will take another four to five years to complete. In the meantime, we will construct a temporary terminal by the end of this year," he said.
The minister said passengers at the BIA were increasing annually, with about 10 million passengers having used the airport in 2017 in comparison to 8.5 million in 2015 and 9.4 million in 2016.
He said aircraft movements had also increased by 10.6 per cent.
Mr. De Silva yesterday submitted the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill to bring in new laws to prevent agents entering the airport illegally and engaging in illegal activities which inconvenience passengers.
The minister said steps would be taken to upgrade the Ratmalana Domestic Airport to facilitate private jets and flight schools.
"A huge area of the Ratmalana airport is occupied by the air force and after lengthy discussions they have agreed to release 25 acres to the civil aviation authority. We agreed to provide them Rs. 725 million to shift their hangers and other equipment," he said.
The minister said they were studying the possibility of constructing the second runway at the BIA to cater to the increasing demand. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)