Airport and Aviation Services yesterday said it is in talks with foreign security experts to procure new tools and machinery to ensure security and provide more convenience to passengers.
Stating that heightened security measures will not be the new normal, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. Chairman Dammika Ranatunga said as the situation in the country gradually returns to normal, the heightened security processes will be removed. He said procuring up-to-date security tools and machinery will be used to aid in continuing safety for travellers in the long term.
“We will have state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the safety of the airport and its passengers. We not only have to procure certain machines to cater to the demand of the current situation, we also have to ensure airline safety. We have already got the approval from the Cabinet for these procurements,” the Chairman said.
The existing security machines at the airport are at least 10 years old as they were not upgraded since the end of the war.
Ranatunga said that by January 2020 in order to set up the online system, structural changes will also be put in place at the airport, which the staff is already working towards, in addition to the equipment that will be procured.
The Chairman advised passengers arriving to the country to use the free shuttle service buses (four buses) available from the BIA arrival outer porch to the remote car park, every 15 minutes.
“We request passengers to try and use the Airport taxi service. All those vehicles are security vetted so they can be used to reach their destinations safely,” he said.
A new entrance road has been completed and set up for all vehicles arriving to pick up incoming passengers from the Minuwangoda road to further ease congestion. However, there were long lines of traffic as the vehicles coming into the airport to pick up passengers were awaiting security checks. It is advisable for pickup vehicles to arrive early to avoid waiting time for passengers. The car park near the arrival terminal is open for vehicles but limited to a maximum of three hours.
Airport and Aviation Services Airport Management Head H.S. Hettiarachchi said that a marquee was installed at the airport’s main entrance, and also a shelter facility for departure passengers, as they have to get down from vehicles and walk to the departure building.
Trolleys and porters are available at this point forward for the ease of the passengers, said Hettiarachchi, speaking of the current procedures set up at the BIA to ensure safety and convenience.
Hettiarachchi further commented that due to the Easter Sunday attacks, no flights were either delayed or cancelled, rather the security was heightened for the safety of the passengers and the airport. He urged the support of the passengers to help with keeping up with the security procedures set in place by being patient, and apologised for any inconvenience caused.