Airport & Aviation Services (Srilanka) Ltd Airport & Aviation Services (Srilanka) Ltd

Resurfacing of the Runway at Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake



BIA has a single runway constructed and commissioned in 1986 under the “Colombo International Airport Development Project Phase 1”. It had been designed as ICAO Code 4-E for critical aircraft Boeing B-747 for a life span of 20 years with 10,000 movements per annum. The runway is 3,350 meters long and 45 meters wide (3,350 m X 45 m).

The runway has been in use for three decades now without comprehensive resurfacing or overlaying other than regular maintenance.

At the request of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Sri Lanka, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mobilized an Expert Team in March 2001 to review the BIA facilities and infrastructure. The report submitted by the ICAO team had recommended inter alia the need for resurfacing of the runway.

The need for resurfacing of the runway at BIA has since been re-emphasized by subsequent ICAO missions and also independent audits conducted by the CAASL. However, the runway was continued to be used to serve international aircraft operations to date without any comprehensive resurfacing due to multifarious reasons.

The current runway surface shows some alligator cracks, which if left unattended while continuing to use the runway, might lead to a major failure of the surface condition resulting in a serious safety hazard. Hence it is vital that the runway resurfacing is carried out at the earliest instance available.


As per the BIA Summer Schedule of aircraft movements of 2016, there are 25 international airlines operating scheduled flights into and out of BIA. The airport has an average of 170 total aircraft movements per day. The airport serves an average of 60 movements of Heavy aircraft, 100 movements of Medium aircraft and 10 movements of light aircraft daily. The above numbers includes the aircraft movements of Sri Lanka Air Force which operates an average of 5 to 7 movements per day.

SriLankan Airlines operates an average of 75 flights into and out of BIA daily.

An average of 25,000 passengers and 300 metric tons of air cargo are handled at BIA daily at present.


With proposed work plan brought up by AASL; the airport operator, for resurfacing the runway, a meeting was convened by DGCA on 21st September 2015 with the participation of senior officials of CAASL, AASL, SriLankan Airlines and Aircraft Operators Committee (AOC) in order to discuss the arrangements to be made for re-surfacing of the existing runway at BIA. At this meeting the need to minimize disruption of airport operations and inconvenience to airport users was underscored and possible alternate options available were discussed. The following options were looked at if the BIA runway was to be closed for resurfacing.

1. Use of Mattala Rajapakse International Airport, (MRIA)
2. Converting the current taxiway (which was the old runway) into a temporary runway
3. Construction of a new runway
4. Use of Ratmalana or any other existing airport

In view of the current level of operations taking place at BIA, current facilities at MRIA (which can handle no more than five movements per hour) were found to be inadequate to handle the total traffic that BIA handles at present. Hence the option of using MRIA during complete closure of BIA was ruled out.

The feasibility of converting the current parallel Taxiway into a temporary Runway and using it as the Runway for aircraft operations during the period of proposed runway resurfacing was discussed at length.

Considering the safety concerns highlighted at the discussion related to above proposal the DGCA appointed a technical team to conduct a Comprehensive Safety Assessment in this regard, before a decision is taken to convert the parallel Taxiway into a temporary runway.

The results of the above Safety Assessment showed that the proposal of converting the parallel taxiway into a temporary runway was not a worthwhile exercise from the viewpoints of cost, time and labor. It was also observed that the surface condition of the taxiway too has deteriorated over the years and is not in a suitable condition to use as a runway.

The feasibility of constructing second parallel runway at BIA before commencement of resurfacing of the existing runway was also examined. However due to non availability of vacant land around the airport and the excessive time that would have to be spent in deciding the location of the second runway coupled with the laborious workload involved in acquiring the required land, this proposal was identified as not being a viable solution for the immediate need of closing the existing runway for resurfacing.

Ratmalana airport and other domestic airports in the country do not satisfy the required international standards in many aspects and hence could not be considered.


A. As explained in section 2 above resurfacing the runway as early as possible is a critical requirement.

B. As there was no alternate solution to the need of full closure of the active runway for resurfacing activities, it was decided to select a portion of the day when the airport is having lesser number of operations for closure for the intended purpose. The airport operator, AASL decided that at least eight hours per day during a period of three consecutivemonths would be needed for the intended resurfacing work.

C. Therefore on perusal of the aircraft movement schedule of BIA, it was observed that during day time between 0830 hrs and 1630 hrs, the airport was having lesser number of movements. Accordingly it was recommended to undertake resurfacing of the existing runway within three months, closing the runway completely for all traffic from 0830hrs to 1630hrs daily. The period for this operation was decided as 06th January to 06th April in 2017 (both days inclusive).

D. This period was selected as the most suitable period for runway re-surfacing on account of the lowest average rainfall that is experienced by the country during this period (Source : Department of Meteorology).

The Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on 13th November 2015 granted approval for resurfacing of the runway by closing the operational use of runway from 0830 hrs to 1630 hrs for a period of three months effective from 06th January 2017.


Present Proposal for resurfacing of the runway includes mainly the following items;

a. Replace deteriorated sections of the runway and taxiway structural pavements.
b. Overlay the runway pavement and widen runway shoulders to meet modified code F operations.
c. Overlay of the deteriorated sections of parallel taxiway and exit taxiways to meet modified code F requirements.
d. Replace the existing runway lighting system and cables with new runway lighting system with cables.
e. Replace the existing taxiway lighting system and cables with new taxiway LED lighting system and cables including new center line lights

As per above proposal runway resurfacing and associated work will be conducted during day time from 0830hrs to 1630hrs from 06th January to 06th April 2017. During this period the runway will be closed for all aircraft operations.


The AASL has selected through approved competitive procurement process, the following consultant and contractor for the runway resurfacing with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.

A. Consultant
Joint Venture of Netherlands Airport Consultant (NACO) and Engineering Consultancy Ltd (ECL) for Design Review and Construction Supervision

Consultant fee : US$ 524,141 + Tax + Rs.28,725,000 + Tax.

B. Contractor
Joint Venture of China National Aero Technology International Engineering Group (CATIC) and Shanghai New Era Airport Design and Research Institute Co. Ltd. of Civil Aviation Authority of China for the runway overlay and associated work in the form of Design and Build contract.

Contract amount: US$ 48,600,406 + Tax

C. Total Cost
The total cost of runway resurfacing is estimated to be Rs.7.2 billion and it will be financed totally by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd.


The closure of airport for the re-surfacing of the runway will affect aircraft operators and other users of the airport as below;

A. Domestic Operations

During the period the runway is being resurfaced (06.01.2017 – 06.04.2017) all domestic aircraft operations are not allowed to operate into or out of BIA. Such operations shall take place from Colombo Airport, Ratmalana

B. International Operations

i. All scheduled aircraft operations to BIA will have to be re-scheduled to operate outside the period during 0830hrs 1630hrs daily for a consecutive period of three months between 06thJanuary and 06th April 2016.

ii. Existing slots of all airlines for BIA are cancelled and totally new schedules need to be agreed upon for the period of runway closure

iii. No non-scheduled/charter aircraft operations will be allowed at BIA during the period concerned. They may operate from MRIA in prior coordination with CAASL and AASL.

iv. Airport users especially the passengers will need to strictly adhere to check-in times.

v. Congestion of passengers could exist and may be inevitable close to airport closure times and re-opening the runway after re-surfacing and passengers may make note of it when planning their schedules.

vi. Scheduled all cargo operations may take place from BIA. Ad hoc charter operations at BIA will be discouraged during this period.

vii. Aircraft overflying Colombo FIR should not flight plan for BIA as enroot alternates during the entire period of resurfacing.

C. Military Operations

i. Military flights during day times (0830hrs to 1630hrs)will have to be operated from alternative bases.
ii. Limited domestic operations can be operated from BIA before closure and after re-opening, subject to availability of slots which will not affect international scheduled operations

D. Business Jets Operations

All business jet aircraft during the closure period (06.01.2017 – 06.04.2017) will be handled at Colombo Airport, Ratmalana

E. Training flights

Training flights including instrument training will not be allowed to operate into, over or out of BIA during the runway resurfacing period (06.01.2017 – 06.04.2017).


A. Airspace/ATC Related matters


Approach sequencing - Minimum Spacing between Arriving Aircraft

3 minutes separation between two arriving aircraft on final approach will be provided


Departure sequence - Minimum Spacing between Departing  Aircraft

2 minutes separation between two departing aircraft can be provided. Minimum dep. spacing for different SIDs will be provided by ATC – Necessary SOPs will be issued and awareness programme for ATCs will be conducted.


Interruption to Nav. Aids


Runway lights/Taxiway Lights


RWY Centre line lights

Touchdown zone lights

Approach Lights


ILS and VOR will be available without interruption

Runway/Taxiway Lights and PAPI to meet CAT 1 operational requirement will be operational at the time the runway is re-opened

Runway centerline lights will not be available throughout the period

Not Available



Runway markings

Runway markings in a reduced form will be available at the time the runway is re-opened for daily use. However minimum ICAO requirements will be satisfied.


Bad weather operations during resurfacing

Resurfacing will be continued as scheduled. The next day asphalt that was laid during the bad weather will be removed and new asphalt re-laid.

Bad weather during runway resurfacing will not be affected for runway opening and closing times.


Bay allocation

Based on booked loads gates will be allocated.Booked loads will be notified to the Control Tower in advance.

At least one bay will be kept free for aircraft maintenance purposes.


Longitudinal profile of Runway

There will be downward ramp to meet requirement of daily overlay operations.  However, the downward ramp will meet the ICAO requirement.

B. Ground Handling


Ground Handling Facilities and Services;

Tow tugs
Cargo pallets
Boarding stairways
Utility vehicles
Catering equipment

It is the duty of the Airport Ground Handler to provide adequate number of ground staff, equipment, facilities and services to ensure that aircraft are handled on ground without any delay. In the event an aircraft cannot turn around prior to airport closure time due to a problem of ground handling, the total onus will rest with the Ground Handler.



It is the onus of the Aviation Re-fueller to ensure that aircraft are refueled in time ensuring their scheduled departure time. Onus due to delay in refueling will be rest entirely with re-fueller.

C. Diversions

All diversions that would be necessitated for emergency or operational reasons shall be made to MRIA, depending on availability of space.

D. Safety Management

The procedure for safety evaluation for closing and re-opening of the runway will be prepared by the contractor. This procedure will be evaluated by the consultant and AASL. Thereafter it will be submitted to DGCA for approval. The CAA will closely monitor whether the approved procedure is being followed by responsible officers for closing and re-opening of the runway and also during the resurfacing process.

A safety team will also be appointed to monitor all safety matters related to safety evaluation procedure. TOR of the safety team will be prepared by AASL for the approval of the CAASL.



Safety evaluation for closing and re-opening of Runway in accordance with the approved procedure


Safety team nominated by AASL and approved by the DGCA will monitor the compliance with the approved safety procedures.

Final/Overall Authority to declare Runway closure and Re-opening

Head of ANS based on the recommendations of the consultant will declare the closure and re-opening of the runway for operations.

The consultant will recommend the readiness to use the runway after following the safety evaluation procedure approved by DGCA.

Operations Room will be established for handling operational requirements at the re-opening of the aerodrome.

The Operations Team will consist of the officers from ATC, Airport Management, SLA GH, SLA Ops, SLAF, P&D Staff, Electrical, Electronics and Safety Division.

E. Check-in


Commencement of Check-in

Airlines are required to commence passenger check-in 05 hours before the standard time of departure of the aircraft.


Closure of Check-in Counters

Airlines should close check-in counters 60 minutes prior to the standard time of departure of the aircraft.


Entry to check-in area

Entry into the check-in area for passengers will not be permitted from 90 minutes prior to the standard time of departure of the aircraft

F. Immigration


Immigration Counters

Fast track immigration for passengers checking on within one hour from the departure

All 16 immigration departure counters will be kept open during the period

2 fast track counters will be provided. SriLankan will provide staff to escort passengers when required

G. Terminal Facilities


Departure Gates

Departure Gates will be closed strictly on closing times leaving sufficient space for departure of aircraft before scheduled time of closure.


Check in Counters

67 Check-in Counters will be available


Baggage belts at Departure

Only 3 baggage belts are available.

In order to avoid frequent breakdowns that is expected, AASL will deploy maintenance staff at the baggage belt areas to rectify breakdowns with minimum delay. AASL will implement a maintenance program during the closure hours.


Baggage Belts at Arrival

After 30minutes on belt, baggage unclaimed will be removed from the belt and kept in the holding area


Number of Boarding Gates (Bus Gates)

If all bus gates can be operated simultaneously 14 gates are available.


Baggage Screening at the entrance by SLAF

3 screening units available at present. Adequate staff to be provided by SLAF


Baggage screening for Passengers

Additional scanner will be positioned for security screening.

Thorough security check is conducted with additional measures so as to ensure that aircraft and passengers are fully screened with no room for any alert

H. Visitors within Terminal Building and Vehicle Parking


Controlling Traffic in the Airport Road.

Alternate road need to be identified to divert traffic to Minuwangoda. Depending on the traffic situation two options will be used.
1. Divert Minuwangoda traffic through Kovinna Road at Andiambalama Junction.
2. Use Minuwangoda road via Airport for one way traffic


Vehicles of arriving passengers, Vehicles of departing passengers and Capacity of Taxi Park

Effective measures for handling of arriving and departing vehicles will be in place in order to avoid the congestion at the entrance to the terminal building and avoiding long lanes of vehicles along the approach road.
A new traffic pattern will be introduced within airport premises and will be tested two weeks prior to runway closure.


Crowd control in the departure terminal;

Limiting Bidding Farewell/Rendezvous Times

Visitors will not be permitted to Departure Public Concourse.


Crowd Control in the Arrival Terminal

Limiting the number and time of stay in the terminal building

Can continue the present practice of permitting two visitors per passenger.

I. Slot coordination methodology

All slots shall be approved by the Slot Committee within the agreed slot coordination criteria. However Grandfather Rights (historical slots) would not be honored during this period and hence will be disregarded. Any deviation from the approved criteria shall be approved by the Chairman, Slot Committee in person. During the period of runway closure, the maximum departures that would be permitted within one hour would be 12 and arrivals would be limited to 10. Subject to the foregoing, the airlines were requested to submit their preferred slots for necessary coordination and approvals.

9. Airport Closure and Opening Procedure

The airport will be closed for all traffic sharp at 0830hrs and opened at 1630hrs daily during the period from 6th January to 6th April 2017 (both days inclusive).

Requests for late departure or early arrivals within the published hours of closure of the runway will not be entertained under any circumstances.

The aircraft arrivals and departures before closing and after opening of the runway will be operated as below;

ETA of Last Arrival before Daily Closure
ETA of 1st Arrival after Daily re-opening

Local Time

ETD of Last Departure before Daily Closure
ETD of 1st Departure after Daily re-opening


Note : Priority will be given to arriving aircraft as per the standard practice of ATC


If an aircraft is in the final approach phase at the time of closing the airport (0830 hrs), it will be permitted to land. All other aircraft in Sri Lankan airspace en-route to BIA, shall be diverted to the designated alternate aerodrome.

If an aircraft is ready for departure with all doors closed and with necessary ATC clearance granted prior to 0830hrs for taxing, it will be permitted to take off. All other aircraft on the apron regardless of the fact whether the aircraft is boarded with passengers or not, will not be cleared for takeoff and shall continue to remain in the apron until the airport is re-opened at 1630 hrs.

If an aircraft develops in-flight emergency soon after takeoff at 0830hrs, it may be permitted to return to base taking into account the nature of the emergency.


MRIA has the capacity to handle aircraft and passengers as follows.

Aircraft movements on runway per hour

Aircraft Parking stands at any given moment of time

Passengers in the terminal building per hour


Code F 1
Code E 1
Code D 1
Code C 4
(SLAF is utilizing one Code C parking bay)



RMA has the capacity to handle Business Jets as follows;

Aircraft movements on runway per hour

Aircraft Parking stands at any given moment of time

Passengers in the terminal building per hour

Not applicable

3 business jets


Both MRIA and RMA will be kept ready during the runway closure period to handle flights within their current capacities as stated above.


The following is a summary of roles and responsibilities of the organizations involved in relation to runway resurfacing Programme




Director General of Civil Aviation

Regulation of Safety, Regularity and Efficiency of air transport operations in conformity with applicable standards and procedures

To monitor the overall arrangement and ensure that runway resurfacing is conducted in compliance with applicable safety standards and airport operations are conducted smoothly without any disruption of services

Airport and Aviation Services Ltd

Provision of Air Navigation services and Management of Airport Operations

Engaging the professional consultants and contractors to perform the required resurfacing tasks

SriLankan Airlines

Provision of ground handling, aircraft line maintenance, and base operator of BIA.

Providing passenger and cargo handling and aircraft ground handling efficiently during the opening hours of the airport and Management of flight schedules in accordance with the procedures during runway closure periods

Controller General of Immigration and Emigration

Provision of Border control activities at International aerodromes

Effective provision of immigration and emigration formalities for the efficient and congestion free passenger movements during the limited daily operational periods.

Chairman, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation

Provision of re-fuelling facilities at BIA

To ensuring the scheduled departures without delay

Director General of Customs

Provision of customs control formalities at international aerodromes

Effective Provision of customs control formalities to ensure the efficient and congestion free passenger movements during the limited daily operational periods.