BIA risks being blacklisted if renovations are delayed: Nimal Siripala de Silva

Published : 10:01 am  March 7, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (1504) reads | 

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By Darshana Sanjeewa  
The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) was in risk of being blacklisted if renovations of the main runway were further delayed, Civil Aviation and Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday.  


On a visit to inspect the progress of the project, the minster said the authorities were forced to expedite the renovation due to the risk of being blacklisted.  


The main runway at the BIA was closed for renovation on January 6 and will be reopen for use on April 6. The airport now functions only eight hours each day (from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm).  


“Several parties opposed the decision to close the airport but we have not closed it entirely and it is for only eight hours a day. Construction is on schedule with 75 percent of the project being completed,” he said.  


The minister said the Chinese company had guaranteed that the runway would be durable for at least 20 years. The company was using technology from the Netherlands and used local engineers for the project, de Silva added.  


The project will widen the existing runway from 65 metres to 75 metres, a necessary upgrade to allow large aircraft such as the A-380 to use the airport.   


Under phase two of the project, new terminals will be constructed in a new building when the renovation of the runway is completed. The project is scheduled to begin in July and tenders have been called for the project.