11-10-2021With the objective to facilitate a smooth flow of passengers at Bandaranaike International Airport, a comprehensive digitalising project is being implemented. By executing this project, the passengers will be able to obtain airport services without a hassle and will be able to improve the overall customer journey. The program is implemented under the guidance and support of Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports/State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development and leadership and D. V. Chanaka, State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development. The introduction of the proposed modern airport technological facilities are expected to yield multifold improvements encompassing a number of aspects such as passenger convenience, passenger processing efficiency, aviation security (AvSec), pandemic-related preventive measures, etc., which are considered vital in the operation of airports in today’s context. Under this initiative, the use of automation and reduction of manual handling will be increased in a manner such that a more user-friendly experience can be delivered to the passengers. The establishment of a Digital Channel for departing passengers in Terminal 1 is carried out as a pilot project, which is keeping in line with the technological advancements planned for Terminal 2 would enable the gathering of passenger experience levels and usage statistics during the post-implementation period. Adequate levels of safety and security standards will be ensured in the Terminal 1 operations while automating the passenger identification process using facial identification technology. “Because of these automation processes, such as self-identification authentication and artificial intelligence (AI) enabled processes will definitely increase the passenger handling efficiencies at the airport,” says Chanaka. A program is being implemented together with the Department of Immigration and Emigration to establish a paperless and touch-less service for Border Control which will provide an enhanced passenger experience. Addressing the present changes in passenger travel and its dynamism, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd., (AASL) is in the process of establishing the COVID-19 Online Health Declaration System at airports as well. Under the project, a system will be introduced to passengers to fill their Health Declaration Forms online and that will be reached the health officers well in advance. Through the system, the health officers will have sufficient time to review and approve the process. New apron development of BIA is at the final stage. Under the new apron area development project, the apron area of BIA will be expanded to facilitate another new 23 apron parking stands for aircraft parking and increase the total capacity of aircraft parking up to 49. The current capacity of aircraft parking is 26. The new apron will be equipped with apron floodlights, flexible pavement connecting taxiways and taxiway lights, aerodrome ground lighting, and signage. At present, the final Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB) Asphalt Surface Course is taking place and it will be completed by November 2021. By increasing these capacities, Bandaranaike International Airport will be able to meet the future demand in the aviation industry and that will contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the country.