Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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BIA minimizes security measures to enhance passenger convenience

In light of the prevailing peaceful environment in the country, authorities have decided to minimise the security procedures at the Departure Terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake to enhance passenger convenience.

The scanning machines initially introduced during times of heightened terrorist threats have ben removed to  ease increased congestion and lengthy lines within the terminal. 

Passengers had to undergo scanner checks at multiple points, causing significant delays and inconvenience. Thus, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) took the initiative to address this issue and enhance passenger experience

This strategic approach aims to streamline security processes without compromising safety measures, ensuring a smoother experience for travellers. These changes are anticipated to have a positive impact on overall passenger satisfaction as the current footfall at the terminal exceeds 15,000.

Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd., Chief Manager H.S. Hettiarachi said the primary objective of the move is to ensure maximum security whilst taking every possible action in facilitating optimal conveniences for departing and arriving passengers at the airport.

 The significant move comes following authorities re-evaluating security protocols without compromising their safety. From 8 August, the scanning machines were removed from their previous locations, reducing the number of checkpoints to two before passengers board their flights. 

Meanwhile President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake has instructed the Director General of Customs to take the necessary steps to install high-tech scanning machines at the VIP passenger terminal of Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake.

The President’s Secretary has taken this step as per the instructions of President Ranil Wickramasinghe.

According to the Sri Lanka Customs officials, although there are high-tech scanners in the general passenger terminal of Katunayake airport to check the handbags brought by air passengers, there is no such facility in the elite passenger terminal.

Therefore, the officials say that the hand luggage of VIPs coming through the special passenger terminal will not be checked.

They point out that in many foreign countries, high-tech scanners are installed in VIP passenger terminals as well as in special passenger terminals. Customs officials say that this will prevent passengers from carrying illegal goods in hand luggage and taking them out of the airport without paying duty.

As directed by the President to prevent illegal goods from being brought through the VIP terminal, the President’s Secretary has informed the Sri Lanka Customs to install these scanning devices at the departure terminal as well for special passengers and VIPs.

 The President’s Secretary has informed the Director General of Customs to provide a report on the progress of the measure.

The Secretary has given these instructions after the Customs arrested a Member of Parliament when he brought three kilos of gold and a stock of smart phones worth Rs. 78 million through the VIP terminal.

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