Development News from Sri Lanka: Plans for the construction of a second terminal at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) have been renewed in hopes of completing construction by 2022, The Sunday Morning Business learned.
The terminal, which was delayed by years due to cost concerns, will now be fast-tracked with a committee appointed to resolve said concerns, according to a senior Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (AASL) official.
The renewed focus on the second terminal comes as the plan of constructing a smaller terminal in the interim to compensate for the delay of the main terminal has been abandoned due to a legal battle.
Accordingly, the committee appointed by AASL hopes to negotiate a lower cost with the Japanese bidders, with a 2022 timeline in mind. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the fund provider of the project, and one of its main conditions was that the construction is given to a Japanese company. Sri Lanka received two proposals from Japanese bidders in which they had quoted 46% and 96% higher than the engineer’s estimate.
However, now the negotiation committee is expected to hold discussions with the bidder who quoted 46% higher, in hopes of bringing it down, while negotiating with JICA to relax the conditions of its loan. The negotiations are expected to be wrapped up by the end of October.
However, at the negotiations, it would not be attempted to amend any other terms of the existing agreement with JICA. Our source told us that it is a bit premature to disclose the additional costs the Sri Lankan Government has incurred so far due to the delays.
The BIA has more than 170 aircraft movements per day, including an average of more than 60 movements of heavy aircraft per day. The existing six million-passenger terminal handled 10 million passengers in 2018, resulting in hours of delays – particularly as passengers were trying to collect their baggage.
According to the annual reports of AASL, the airport experiences heavy congestion in both arrival and departure zones, as well as vehicular traffic, particularly during peak hours, and passenger arrivals grow 5-6% year-on-year.
The new terminal is expected to be up by 2022 and will handle a passenger capacity of nine million as initially planned, bringing the total BIA terminals’ capacity to 15 million. The AASL would stick to their initial capacity plans even though the terminal is likely to be filled to capacity after a year or two of its opening due to the delays.
However, AASL believes that any changes to the original plan at this moment would delay the construction of the permanent terminal even further. It may go for a long-term solution to the capacity issue in the future.
The new terminal building would feature the addition of 96 check-in counters, eight baggage claim belts, seven baggage make-up carousels, 16 contact boarding gates with 28 passenger boarding bridges, and six bus gates. The scope also includes capacity enhancement of the incinerator, water treatment plant, and sewerage treatment plant.