BIA to fly high with state-of-the-art Terminal 2 | Daily News

BIA to fly high with state-of-the-art Terminal 2

An artist's impression of the new terminal
An artist's impression of the new terminal

Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake is undergoing a major expansion to provide improved passenger experience and increase handling capacity. Construction of the second passenger terminal building (Terminal 2/T2) is the centrepiece of the airport’s expansion programme, which aims at increasing business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s aviation sector.

The new state-of-the-art passenger terminal will have a nine million passenger capacity, increasing to 15 million. This project, along with other re-modelling and restructuring initiatives at Bandaranaike’s existing terminal and at four other international airports – Mattala Rajapaksa, Colombo International (Ratmalana), Jaffna International and Batticaloa International – will provide the infrastructure required to cater for 20 million passengers per year by 2025, the target set by the Government.

The airport authorities held a kick-off meeting with the new terminal contractor and project consultants in September 2020 to present the work plan for the terminal construction and other related works. The US$ 550 million-expansion project comprises two packages, Package A and Package B, and it is expected to be completed within three years.

The project will address issues such as congestion and passenger discomfort at the airport. The new terminal is expected to handle nine million passengers a year, taking the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 15 million passengers annually.

BIA T2 design and features

The new terminal will offer barrier-free access with multiple environmental-friendly initiatives and incorporate Japanese advanced technology. The project will involve the construction of a new multi-level terminal building with a floor area of approximately 180,000 square metres, two new piers, and a link course connecting to the existing terminal. The arrival and departure areas will be separated vertically.

Bandaranaike International Airport’s new terminal building will include 96 check-in counters, eight baggage claim belts, seven baggage make-up carousels, contact boarding gates, passenger boarding bridges, and bus gates.

The terminal will incorporate sustainability measures such as 40 percent water saving, 25 percent energy saving, installation of energy-efficient equipment, commitment to using zero chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerants, and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Construction details

Package A of the expansion project involves the construction of the second terminal, with a link concourse, new parking apron and taxiways, five-level car park and public utilities, and elevated access roads. It includes buildings that are connected to the main terminal buildings, stormwater drainage system, electricity, water supply and sewage disposal system, integrated machinery, and combustion engines.

Package B development works are nearing completion, with 82 percent of the work completed by August 2020. Work includes the addition of 23 new aircraft parking bays and other improvements such as machinery, retention pond and stormwater drainage system and access road.

Other components of the airport upgrade and expansion include increasing the capacity of the incinerator, water treatment plant and sewage treatment plant.


In March 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement worth JPY45.42 billion ($403.75 million) with a 40-year repayment period to support the new terminal construction and associated work. It previously provided a loan of JPY28.96 billion ($257.44 million) for the detail design of the BIA expansion.


The Japanese construction company Taisei is the contractor for the construction of Terminal 2. Japan Airport Consultants and Nippon Koei are serving as project consultants, while engineering consultancy firm Green Technologies was contracted to provide Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultancy services for the project. Construction work began in 2014 and the project was scheduled to be completed in 2017. However, several components in the existing plan did not fit the requirements. As a result, construction did not proceed on schedule, causing a delay.

In an official meeting recently, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered officials to accelerate the construction work programme and complete the terminal in the next three years. Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Presidential Task Force Chairman Basil Rajapaksa said the second terminal will be developed as a smart terminal with the technological facilities to meet the necessary requirements.

The new terminal will enable the airport to handle more than 15 million passengers per year. It will also enable the airport to handle arrival and departure operations at separate terminals. Bandaranaike International Airport, also known as Colombo International Airport, is located in the town of Katunayake to the north of Colombo.

Administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka), it acts as a hub for Sri Lankan Airlines and serves several international airlines. The construction of the airport began in 1964 and was completed in 1967. It is the first international airport in Sri Lanka.

In another development, the BIA has installed the latest X-ray machines to upgrade its baggage screening facilities. Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) procured the X-Ray machines, worth US$ 331,220, as a direct investment. The introduction of the advanced X-Ray machines is expected to ensure passenger convenience by increasing the baggage screening throughput and reducing passenger wait times. It will also help the AASL to enhance compliance with Aviation Security (AVSEC) standards.

The move is in compliance with European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), Department for Transport UK (DFT UK) and Transport Security Administration (TSA) USA, as well as National Security standards. The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) mandates the compliance of all these standards for hold baggage and carry-on baggage screening.

AASL security staff will be provided with operational training by the Smiths Detection Malaysia SDN, represented locally by Securatec Lanka. The organisation’s technical staff will be trained on the maintenance of the X-ray machines at Smiths Detection Malaysia. This will eliminate the need for the authorities to enter into a maintenance agreement with the manufacturer or local representative, which would incur a significant cost. The new X-ray machines will be placed at BIA’s departures customs area and boarding gates. These will also be installed at Colombo International Airport in Ratmalana to enhance the passenger departure process and AVSEC standards.

In February this year, Bandaranaike International Airport started the construction work for a new terminal to accommodate its increasing passenger numbers. (Airport Technology)