[ltr]With the aim of boosting Sri Lanka’s cargo facility in the region, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Pvt.) Ltd. (AASL) is currently in talks with two major global players in cargo handling to establish their hubs at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), The Sunday Morning Business exclusively learns.Speaking to us, AASL Director – Chief Operations Shehan Sumanasekara stated that discussions are currently ongoing with FedEx Express and Expo Freight to install their hubs at BIA in order to get dedicated air cargo freight into the country for value addition purposes.[/ltr]
[ltr]“Currently, their freight does not come to Sri Lanka, but with the installation of their own operation hubs at BIA, we will start receiving dedicated air cargo crafts, which would result in a boost for the entire region in terms of cargo transfer,” Sumanasekara highlighted.
Regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, there is a significant growth in the export of perishable cargo from the BIA to international markets, especially essential goods such as food, medicine, etc.
Furthermore, when inquired about the status of the Air Cargo Village terminal that is currently being developed at the BIA, he responded that the new building is progressing according to schedule without any hindrance.
Sumanasekara said that the BIA currently provides cargo handling services with a capacity of 250,000 MT per annum, and with this development, the capacity can be increased up to 400,000 MT per annum.
“The Nawaloka Construction Company is handling the construction. As per the scheduled date, the new building will finish construction by January 2023. It will undoubtedly play a key role in supporting the needs and demands of the industry,” he added.
We also spoke to AASL Chairman Major General (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, who also added that the construction was operating smoothly and will be completed within the expected timeline.
“We can’t get passengers during this period, but we are not going to idle. We are working on various developments such as incentives, concessions, working on different models, laboratory facilities, and developing infrastructure to benefit the country in the future.”
Meanwhile, he also mentioned that the construction of Terminal 2 is also progressing without any delay and that it will be completed within the scheduled time period, i.e. by August 2023, as a measure to mitigate passenger congestion issues.
Accordingly, the new terminal will be built at a cost of $ 800 million and is expected to handle a passenger capacity of nine million as initially planned, while the existing terminal handles about six million passengers annually.
The new terminal building would feature the addition of 96 check-in counters, eight baggage claim belts, seven baggage makeup carousels, 16 contact boarding gates with 28 passenger boarding bridges, and six bus gates. The scope also includes a capacity enhancement of the incinerator, water treatment plant, and sewage treatment plant.[/ltr]