Sri Lanka airport crunch looming: official

Oct 29, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s sole international airport will face a capacity crunch soon with passenger traffic exceeding its design capacity by year’s end amid a post-war tourism boom, an airline official said. Another plan under consideration is to expand the terminal into the garden area. The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) handled 5.26 million people in 2010 but will soon not have enough check-in counters and boarding gates to handle increasing traffic..

“Its design capacity is six million people which we will reach by the end of 2011,” declared G T Jeyaseelan, chief marketing officer of SriLankan Airlines, the island’s national carrier, which has the monopoly on ground handling at the airport.

“Where do we go from here?”

The BIA has only 50 check-in counters, eight bridge gates and four remote gates.

“At any given time the airport cannot handle more than 12 flights,” Jeyaaseelan told a forum on logistics organised by the Sri Lanka branch of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

“At certain times of the day in a three-hour window we already have 16 flights of SriLankan Airlines and other airlines.

“It is a nightmare for both the airport and SriLankan Air