Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. (AASL) has extended the contract period of its first-ever airport hotel project at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by a further six months, despite no progress in the construction of the hotel being made for the past three years, The Sunday Morning Business learns.
AASL Chairperson Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri told us that Colombo International Airport Hotels Ltd. (CIAH), to whom the contract was awarded, will now have to show progress in the project within the stipulated time period.
As per the initial agreement, the hotel was set to be completed by April 2021, but as of now, there has been no progress in terms of the construction work.
“For the last three years, they have not made any progress. Now, we have given them another six months to commence the work. However, after checking the progress and their commitment towards the project, we will give them additional time to complete the construction,” Maj. Gen. Chandrasiri said.
Adding further, he stated that AASL has given the land on lease for constructors and hopes that the first-ever airport hotel project will be completed within the newly stipulated time period to avoid unwanted trouble as per the agreement signed between the stakeholders.
All attempts to contact CIAH for comment in this regard proved futile.
Recently, several local media falsely reported that the hotel is set to commence operations in December 2022. Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business last month, AASL Director – Chief Operations Shehan Sumanasekara clarified that the hotel was initially set to be completed in April 2021 in order to commence the official operational activities at the hotel by October 2021.
“As per the agreement, the timeline of constructing the hotel has passed. During the period of three years, not a single development on the land had been done until the end of the contract in April 2021. AASL had scheduled to commence operation in October 2021, since there is clearly no development to the initiative; decisions will be taken by the AASL Board whether to proceed ahead with the existing contractor,” Sumanasekara highlighted.
Elaborating on the agreement signed between the two parties, he stated that if the contractor wishes to move ahead with the signed proposal, AASL might grant the request by extending the deadline by six months. However, this will only be granted based on the initial agreement signed, where the contractor will have to comply to pay a concession rate for each month until the six months are completed, considering the fact that they have delayed finishing their task within the initially allocated time frame.
“After the extended six months, AASL will review the performance of the contractor. If there is progress, then another six months will be awarded to complete the BIA hotel. However, if there is still no progress or if the contractor is not willing to comply with paying the concession rate, AASL would end the contract and will restart the task of the BIA hotel from its beginning,” Sumanasekara explained.
Meanwhile, commenting on AASL’s upcoming developments, Maj. Gen. Chandrasiri stated that the Package B-Remote Apron and Taxiways Under BIADP Phase 11 Stage 2 projects are at their final stages and will be completed by early next month.
The AASL website states: “Under this programme, 23 new aircraft parking bays will be added at BIA. Once the ‘Package-B’ development is completed, it will facilitate the upcoming ‘Package A’ (Passenger Terminal Building and associated works under BIADP Phase 11 Stage 2 Project) development programme of the main gateway.”
Adding further, Maj. Gen. Chandrasiri also mentioned that the construction of Terminal 2 is also progressing without any delay and that it will be completed within the scheduled time period (August 2023) as a measure to mitigate passenger congestion issues.
Accordingly, the new terminal will be built at a cost of $ 800 million and is expected to handle a passenger capacity of nine million as initially planned, while the existing terminal handles about six million passengers annually.
The new terminal building would feature the addition of 96 check-in counters, eight baggage claim belts, seven baggage make-up carousels, 16 contact boarding gates with 28 passenger boarding bridges, and six bus gates. The scope also includes a capacity enhancement of the incinerator, a water treatment plant, and a sewage treatment plant.