The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), which is under construction, is planning to allow travellers to arrive between five and four hours before departure. This is instead of the compulsory five hours enforced in January 7 when runway maintenance began.
Counters will close about 90 minutes before departure. Airport and Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (AASL) Executive Director Johanne Jayaratne told the Business Times on Wednesday that they would allow passengers to call between four to five hours before departure. Though there were calls by the tourism representatives to relax the 5-hour period, he said passengers still must arrive between four to five hours before departure. Meanwhile despite reduced flights, tourist arrivals grew by 13 per cent to 219,360 last month from January 2016.
Tour Operators Association President Devendre Senaratne explained that while some agents would allow their travellers to report to the airport even up to four and a half hours before departure most would encourage passengers to call at the BIA five hours ahead.
He noted that though it would take only a matter of about 20 minutes to check-in, clients were urged to report to the BIA five hours ahead in order to avoid any congestion.
Airport authorities and travel agents have stated that efficiency is being maintained at the airport with all sections of the BIA working to their maximum capacity.
The Mattala Rajapakse International Airport (MRIA) is currently servicing 14 flights per day and with about 170 passengers originating per day from Mattala. At present SriWijaya, an Indonesian airline, is operating three times a week. The other two carriers flying out of Mattala are FlyDubai and SriLankan.