Bandaranayake International airport will be missing in action
The Bandaranayake international airport is scheduled to partially close down for three months, starting from January 2017, in order to carry out maintenance work on its runway. The construction on the runway will be carried out for 8 hours daily for three consecutive months. Although this construction is a necessary one, and is being done to increase the safety standards of the runway, it is sure to have some negative effects on certain industries including tourism, apart from minor impacts to the export and import industry. Especially since BIA is Sri Lanka’s main international airport.
Global tourism can be considered as one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries today. This growth in tourism would definitely benefit a country such as ours that has so much to offer. Ranging from culture, to wildlife, to ancient artifacts and history, to adventure, and some of the most fantastic and secluded beaches in the world.
According to the monthly statistics of tourist arrivals provided by the Sri Lanka tourism development authority, there has been quite a substantial increase in the number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in the year 2016 (up to September), compared to 2015 (up to September). These statistics are respectively 1,508,405 in 2016, and 1,315,839 in 2015, with an increase of 192, 566 tourist arrivals. According to these statistics, Sri Lanka has had an average of 167, 601 tourist arrivals per month this year while operating for 24 hours daily. Therefore according to an estimated statistical average, 16 hours of operation daily may have the potential of dropping the monthly average number of tourist arrivals from 167, 601 to 111, 730.
However, according to an article posted on the Business times (Sunday times), the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri has stated that “the Civil Aviation Authority is planning on working out a way to make the necessary arrangements to ensure, that there would be fewer disturbances to traffic at the airport”, which would definitely help ease the pain for the tourism industry. Additionally, another important measure the Sri Lankan government could take to further reduce this pain is to try and direct as many flights as possible to the Mattala international airport, while offering those tourist arrivals free transport from the Mattala International airport to Colombo as well.