Sri Lanka mulls airline, business class check in to ease airport congestion

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is considering introducing a separate business class check-in and allowing passenger check-in at airline offices in Colombo to ease congestion caused by the partial closure of its international airport for repairs.

“We are also looking at the possibility of reducing the five-hour check-in time. I’m confident this can be reduced in the near future,” Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said.

The initial congestion caused as a result of the partial closure of the Katunayake International Airport beginning January 6 has now been completely eased, according to the Minister of Tourism Development.

The airport is closed from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily for a period of three months to carry out resurfacing of the main runway.

The ministry said in a statement that new measures to ease congestion were discussed during a visit to the airport and after meetings with airline representatives and Airport and Aviation Services Limited (AASL) staff by Amaratunga who has been closely monitoring the situation.
“During the meeting at the airport, we discussed the feasibility of introducing a separate business class check in area to ease main terminal passenger traffic. We are also exploring the possibility of enabling passenger check in at airline offices in Colombo. Logistics and emigration issues need to be worked out in this regard,” explained Amaratunga.

The ministry said airline representatives felt that congestion issues have been completely overcome.

“Following reports of congestion on the first day of the partial closure, airport authorities swiftly moved into action to minimise inconvenience to passengers by introducing a series of measures,” noted Minister Amaratunga.

The number of counters for check-ins, immigration and Customs has been increased corresponding to the increase in traffic, the statement said.

“It must be remembered that with two million tourist arrivals, the airport is operating at 150 percent capacity. So until the new terminal is ready, it’s going to be a very busy airport,” noted Amaratunga.

Some of the measures that have been introduced are queue management, entertainment for waiting passengers, additional seating arrangements, passenger facilitation services in the emigration area and free Wi-Fi for passengers.
(COLOMBO, Jan 10, 2016)





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