Daily BIA passenger operations exceed 12,000 | Daily News

Daily BIA passenger operations exceed 12,000

More PHIs to man health desks soon
Expansion to lift capacity to 15 m passengers a year

Several measures to minimize air passenger congestion at the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) have been taken on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

With health and entry guidelines being relaxed after opening the country subsequent to the COVID pandemic, the number of daily passenger operations at the Katunayake Airport has increased to more than 12,000, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.

“Over 12,000 air passenger operations are carried daily at the airport. From last January up to now, 746,085 air passenger operations have been carried out at the airport of which 409,496 were arrivals and 336,589, departures”.

The Minister said annual capacity of air passengers at the Katunayake Airport was six million.

 “Prior to the COVID pandemic, the number of annual air passenger operations had exceeded 10 million. Once the development projects implemented within the airport are completed it will be possible to increase the annual number of air passenger operations up to 15 million,” Minister Ranatunga disclosed.

He further said that according to instructions given by President Rajapaksa to minimize air passenger congestion at the Katunayake Airport, several measures were taken jointly by the airport and health authorities.

A special discussion was held by the Minister at the BIA on Wednesday (17). Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Immigration and Emigration Controller, Customs Officers as well as Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services Company retired Major General G. A. Chandrasiri together with airport authorities participated.

It was revealed that during a busy period with many flights arriving, there is congestion of air passengers at centres where health records are obtained. It was also discovered that the reason for this was the unavailability of an adequate number of health officials. The Director General of Health Services said that 30 Public Health Inspectors who will be joining the service in a few days’ time will be deployed in service at the airport. It was decided to have 30 airport staff to help in carrying out this work, until then. Another decision was made to have separate centres for examining tourists and air passengers who have been fully vaccinated and for other air passengers.

Airport authorities have as of now provided required facilities for tourists and air passengers arriving in the country via the BIA to complete health declarations online. More tourists are arriving in Sri Lanka with the commencement of regular services by SriLankan Airlines, Air France, Edelweiss, Aeroflot, LOT, Singapore Airlines, Air India and several other airlines.

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