(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Airports Council International (ACI) has certified Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport for adopting health and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in line with the International Airport Health Accreditation program.
The Airports Council International accreditation issued on 11 January 2021 has recognized BIA’s commitment to prioritizing health and safety measures in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) recommendations and in alignment with the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines along with industry best practices.
The accreditation has been issued by the Airports Council International Council following a thorough examination of the health and the safety measures adopted at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic situation under their International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program.
After reviewing the evidence presented through a strict evaluation process, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director-General of ACI World congratulated Major General (Rtd) G. A. Chandrasiri, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited (AASL) for achieving this status and commended that BIA has demonstrated a safe airport experience for all travelers which is in line with the recommended health measures established in the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines and ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force Recommendations, along with industry best practices.
This program is designed to help reassure the traveling public that airport facilities remain safe and that precautions are being taken to reduce any risk to their health.
ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation program assists airports by assessing new health measures and procedures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force recommendations for a Healthy Passenger Experience at Airports.
Topics covered by the accreditation include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications, and passenger facilities. All passenger areas and processes are considered including terminal access, check-in areas, security screening, boarding gates, lounges, retail, food and beverages, gate equipment such as boarding bridges, escalators and elevators, border control areas, and facilities (in collaboration with authorities), baggage claim area and arrivals exit are covered under this accreditation.
Expressing views on the ACI Health Accreditation certificate received by BIA, D. V. Chanaka, State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development said, “We work in an important industry, aviation, which is bound to a number of international standards, rules, and regulations.”
“These standards and regulations have been laid down for continuous improvements keeping the airlines and the passengers at the nerve center of our business model. Therefore, we always pursue our efforts towards the enhancement of the passenger experience. At a time we are challenged by the COVID-19 global pandemic, we strive hard on our efforts to offer our passengers ‘safe travel at maximum hygiene’ in the new normal world. As the civil airport operator, Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited – (AASL) has made all required arrangements at our airports to facilitate international flights and international tourists. These arrangements have been made according to the health guidelines of the Sri Lanka Health Authorities and in compliance with the international regulatory guidelines. In recognition of our continuous efforts during the past few months, the main gateway, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has received the accreditation issued by the Airports Council International (ACI) Council following a thorough examination of the health and the safety measures adopted at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We have qualified to receive the accreditation for BIA for the first time and we are now working on the same procedure to obtain the ACI accreditation to Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) too.”
Further Major General (Rtd) G. A. Chandrasiri, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited (AASL) said “The certificate has been awarded by Airports Council International is really important for us to make sure that the aviation industry is a very resilient industry and we need to take measures to endure the impact of COVID-19 through implementing strict health and safety standards at our facilities and operations.”
“Further, this accreditation will uplift the confidence of the international airlines and passengers globally to arrive in Sri Lanka at a safe destination and it will demonstrate our level of readiness too. Finally, I must emphasize the fact that as the airport operator we will never compromise on the safety and hygiene standards at our international airports. I should thank Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Tourism, and Hon. D. V. Chanaka, State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development for their continuous guidance and also, I take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to the Vice Chairman and Board of Directors, senior officers, all staff of AASL and other stakeholder organizations for their tremendous commitment towards this achievement.”