Colombo, April 6 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Transport Minister, Nimal Siripala De Silva on Thursday declared open a renovated runway at the country’s main international airport leading to the resumption of normal airport services to passengers after three months.
The repair and construction of the 30 year old runway was carried out by China National Aero- Technology International Engineering Corporation(CATIC-ENG) under the consultation of Netherlands Airport Consultant (NACO).
The total cost of the project was valued at Rs. 7.2 billion.
Transport Minister De Silva declared open the runway in a grand ceremony on Monday afternoon afterwhich a newly purchased Sri Lankan Airlines flight aircraft UL-1162 which arrived from Trivandrum, made its landing on the newly laid widened runway.
The taxi way leading up to the runway was also repaired.
The newly renovated runway was completed 18 days ahead of schedule by the CATIC team. The runway has now been upgraded to “4F” from “4E” Class.
Officials said that large aircrafts such as the A380 could now land at the BIA and Sri Lanka was looking forward to welcoming more international flights in the future.
Sri Lanka’s national airline carrier, SriLankan Airlines also announced Wednesday that it would resume normal operations throughout its global route network from April 7.
The construction of the runway led to an eight hour closure of the airport from Jan 5 to April 6 with the airport being closed from 8.30 am to 4.30 p.m.
Due to the partial closure passengers were advised to arrive at the airport five hours prior to their departure time as all airlines had to readjust their arrival and departure times into and out of Colombo.
However with the opening of the new runway, passengers can now return back to the three hour prior arrival, a statement said Wednesday.