BIA’s renovated runway running into problems?

BIA’s renovated runway running into problems?

Written by Keshala Dias

12 Apr, 2017 | 9:06 pm

Were the modifications at the Bandaranaike International Airport successful?

Will the BIA lose its certification from the International Civil Aviation Organisation?

The Bandaranaike International Airport was closed for three months from January 6, 2017.

It was later revealed that SriLankan Airlines incurred an approximate loss of USD 40 million during the time the runway was shut down for refurbishment.

The project was to broaden the 45-metre main runway to 75 metres and to re-lay the carpet to fix the lighting system as well as to re-lay carpet on the part that was in a dilapidated state.

The initial estimate for the project stood at Rs. 7.2 billion.

Minister of Civil Aviation Services Nimal Siripala de Silva speaking on the matter said: [quote]”To land and take off flights, the runway need to be at an exceptional standard. There are several international regulations pertaining to this. The ICAO inspects our runway. The companies which insure the passengers, obtain these reports. The airline companies do not land their flights here if the runway is not in accordance with proper standards. It’s difficult to land an A380 flight here, they had tried this once. The runway needs to be broadened, we will do that as well”.[/quote]

According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the runway should be 75 metres wide to receive the 4F category certificate.

H.M.C Nimalsiri (Director General – Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka): [quote]”With the laying of the carpet, we have widened the area that is identified as shoulders of the runway. The actual width was 45 metres. In addition there were shoulders that were 30 meters wide. What most states have done is to widen these shoulders instead of widening the runway it self. We have taken similar steps”.[/quote]

Meanwhile, Leader of JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, speaking on the issue said: [quote]”We closed the airport for six months from 8 in the morning to 4 in the evening. The loss has been calculated at 7.6 billion. But what has happened after they reconstructed the runway incurring a loss of Rs. 7.6 billion. It has come to a situation where the A380s cannot land there. They had rolled back the previous plan but the cost has increased by USD 30 million. It is clear that the anticipated task has not been achieved”.[/quote]

Chairman of  Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, Janaka Wijepathiratne speaking on the issue said:

[quote]”We worked for 16 long sleepless hours in the night shift to facilitate the construction activities of the runway. But after all of this, if the international aviation authorities are not granting permission for bigger flights to land here, we see this as a massive waste of money. We are asking the government to provide a clarification”.[/quote]

Ironically, the Mattala International Airport has the 4F Category Certificate from the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

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