12th March 2012, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Passenger movements through Sri Lanka's main international airport rose to 6.4 million above its design capacity of 6 million passengers, and the state-run agency was scrambling to add capacity, an official said.
Last year, according to the agency's annual report, the international airport at Katunayake handled 5.259 million passengers indicating an increase of 21 percent.
Chairman of the state airport agency, Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services Ltd, Prasanna Wickramasuriya told a forum organized by Sri Lanka's shipping academy that the airport handled 208,000 metric tonnes of cargo, up from 187,000 tonnes a year earlier.
The airport can handle 250,000 metric tonnes of cargo a year.
The airport can accommodated 25 airside movements an hour. The airport has been experiencing congestion especially at so-called 'hub peaks'.
Tourist arrivals have been growing over 30 percent a year since a 30-year war ended in 2009.
Thirty three airlines now call at Colombo.
"Day-by-day the enthusiasm is more and other airlines wants to fly into Sri Lanka," Wickramasuriya said.
Wickramasuriya said capacity will be upped by a million passengers a year.
The airport was building a one million passenger domestic terminal to be completed by the end of the year. But it will initially used for international traffic, he said.
Private jet movements had also increased 27 percent, making it difficult to accommodate them, he said. They will be shifted to small airport at Ratmalana, south of the capital Colombo he said.
The airport firm had signed up a loan from Japan to up passenger capacity to 12 million and cargo to 510,000 by 2015, he said.
Sri Lanka one-million-passenger second international airport in Hambantota is also expected to be completed by end 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.
Related Info :
• Japan Finnaces Sri Lanka Airport Expansion. Bandaranaike International Airport Sees Congestion Amid a Boom in Air Traffic
• 11 International Airlines Fly Back to Sri Lanka since the End of War in 2009
• Sri Lanka Tourism Statistics and Tourist Arrivals