Speaking at a Sri Lankan Chamber of Construction Industries (CCI) seminar, Dayanthe Athulathmudali, now director, Safety and Security of Dubai World Central, said small states like Sri Lanka need to understand that airlines operating regular long haul international flights only want to operate to one international airport and not to a second within the same state.
He also said the runway at BIA will need major refurbishment within the next few years and that it can’t support modern aircraft fully loaded with passengers and freight.
The current runway is only 3,350 metres long and 45 metres wide – too short to support the A341-300 takeoff at its maximum takeoff weight of 275 tonnes during the daytime when temperatures exceed 31 degrees Celsius, he said. Th e BIA should ideally have a ICAO standard 60 metre wide runway, Athulathmudali said.
As a result, airline cargo has to be unloaded when the cabin is full with passengers. “Sri Lankan exports destined to London and beyond have to be unloaded and reloaded on AirLanka’s competitors simply because the runway is too short at daytime,” he said.
The length is inadequate even for other types of aircraft including B777 and B747-400 operations at the maximum takeoff weight, again when the runway is hot, he added.