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Sri Lanka Airport Arrival – Bandaranaike International Airport

The Bandaranaike International Airport reminded me of the larger airports in the Philippines. At least that was my first impression of this main gateway for Sri Lanka upon our arrival. Here are photos I took upon our arrival at Colombo last September.

We deplaned away from the international terminal where a bus was waiting for us.

Other passengers deplaned from the rear door and another bus was waiting for them.

The bus was not airconditioned so we had our first taste of the Sri Lankan climate. Coming from a tropical country though, it was okay for us.

Passengers deplaning had to stop on the stairs as our bus was full and they had to wait for the next one.

Other aircraft on the tarmac of the airport

The air traffic control tower as seen from a distance

Upon disembarking from our buses, passengers ascend towards the immigration section

It took us a while to clear immigration as there were few officers assigned to foreigners that time. Upon clearing immigration, we walked towards the baggage reclaim area only to be greeted by this sight.

On one side were shops selling mostly liquor and cigarettes and on the other were shops selling appliances and other electronics. I didn’t expect to see so many selling items like TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. And then we thought these were quite similar to the set-up of duty free shops in Manila during the 1970s to the 1990s when many if not most arrivals were either balikbayan (vacationing from the US, Canada or Europe) or Overseas Foreign Workers who were on a break or between contracts. We observed similar situations at Bandaranaike as many Sri Lankans arriving appeared to be OFWs.

We descended towards the baggage reclaim area, which turned out to be an expansive area.

There were few passengers  so that added to the feeling of space.

The airport had many conveyor belts

It took us a while to get to our conveyor belt. Along the way, I took this photo of the customs channels. The green was for travellers with nothing to declare. The red was for those with taxable items.

Passengers positioned themselves around the conveyor belt

Passengers waiting for their luggage

Upon getting our luggage, we proceeded towards the terminal exit. The way was lined with currency exchange stalls, hotels booths and tourist travel booths.

Currency exchange and tourist services

The path towards the terminal exit is lined with tourist agencies offering various services and packages.

Passengers are greeted by those picking them up (including hotel transportation) and those offering transport services to various destinations. 

There were many empty stalls intended for duty free shops at the terminal. Perhaps these will be occupied once the airport complex is completed and there is an increase in flights at Bandaranaike.

Passengers waiting for their rides upon exiting the terminal

One of the driveways at the arrivals area. This was for private vehicles picking up arriving passengers. We crossed this to get to the driveway where our Uber car was waiting for us.

A friend engaging our Uber driver – it wasn’t difficult to make conversation as most Sri Lankans could speak English; one of the legacies of being under British rule for a long time.

View of the airport driveway

Familiar scene of a buddhist image – we thought this was similar to scenes in Thailand

More photos from our trip to Sri Lanka soon!

Changi Jewel and transit

The trip to Sri Lanka afforded me some hours at Singapore’s Changi Airport. En route to Colombo, we made sure to go around the complex and check out one of the attractions of the top airport in the world. Changi’s Jewel is very impressive and can make you forgot you were actually inside an airport terminal. Here are some photos taken as we trekked to the Jewel via Terminal 2 and 3.

Visitors have the option of walking by themselves or using the moving walkway whenever these were available.

The automated guideway transit (AGT) system of Changi allow you to transfer from one terminal to another with the exception of Terminal 4.

I took this photo of the guideway and the AGT as reference for my lectures

Another view of the corridor connecting Terminal 3 to the Jewel

Directional sign to the Jewel

Changi’s air traffic control tower

The main attraction is this gigantic waterfall located at a man-made complex that’s designed to imitate conditions at a rainforest.

Changi AGT slow down for passengers to have a good close view of the Jewel

All the water used is recycled and one can get mesmerised by the vortex where all the water falls and seem to be sucked into.

Here’s another look at the Jewel and the airport AGT

There is a mall with shops, restaurants and cafes around the Jewel.

Another photo of the AGT guideway above the road system at Changi

Taxis queued along airport roads

More guideways

A look back at the way from the Jewel

More photos of Changi soon!

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Departure Part 2

This is the last part of the feature on the Davao International Airport. Here are the last batch of photos I took of the airport departure areas.

Spacious departure level containing the airline check-in counters

Passengers wait for their check-in times and counter for travel tax payments

Passengers with their luggage filing into the terminal

View of the airline check-in counters from the escalator

Another view of the airline check-in counters and the departure area. This photo also shows the shops at the second level. 

View of the terminal entrance from the escalator

Another view of the ground floor area showing the airline counters and the escalators and stairs to the departure level lounges

After clearing the final security check, passengers pass through this corridor towards the departure lounge and boarding gates

Passengers waiting for their boarding calls.

Coming up soon are photos of Changi (Singapore) and Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka) airports. I haven’t been to Singapore in 7 years and it was my first time to go to Sri Lanka so I made sure to take a lot of photos at those airports.

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Arrival Part 2

This is a continuation of the post on the Davao International Airport. I made sure to take photos upon our arrival as I haven’t been to Davao in a while. So here’s a second set of photos on the airport.

Upon exiting the terminal, one is greeted by a spacious are with covered walkway towards the taxi stand and the parking area. 

A view of the sidewalk and path to the departure wing of the terminal. Note the signs indicating the airline offices nearby.

Crossing to the taxi stands and pick-up areas

A look back to the terminal building

Driveway for private vehicles picking-up or dropping-off passengers at the terminal

Taxi stands at the terminal. These are taxis picking-up passengers.

Queue at the taxi stand

The taxis on the other lanes are those dropping-off passengers at the terminal. There are two lanes each for taxis dropping-off or picking-up passengers.

Passengers are given by airport security personnel a small sheet of paper where the information on the taxis are written. These are for future reference or use in case there is an issue or concern such as things left on the taxis.

Taxi bearing a sticker of Hirna, a popular taxi hailing app in Davao. This homegrown company gives good competition to the industry leader Grab. I thought that we probably need more of these than Grab Cars.

 

I have always admired taxi operations in Davao. My experience there since my first time to visit the city is that it was easy to get a taxi and their drivers generally follow rules and regulations. The system in Davao seems to be effective in encouraging drivers to be honest and obedient to traffic rules and regulations.

More on the Davao International Airport soon!

Another look at the Francisco Bangoy (Davao) International Airport – Arrival Part 1

I have not been to Davao for some time now. I think the last time was over 6 years ago at a time when there was still no inkling of its mayor becoming the Philippine President. In fact, that was the time he was Vice Mayor to his daughter who was mayor the last time I was in the city. And so I was curious how it was in the city where certainly the popularity of the First Family should be at the highest in the land. Note that aside from the President, the first daughter is again Mayor, a son is Vice Mayor and another son is Congressman. But no worries for the DDS among my readers, I will not talk about politics in this post. I will just be sharing photos of the airport and some commentaries here and there.

View of the airport terminal as we deplaned

A look back at the Airbus 330 jet that brought us to Davao

Passengers walking towards the baggage claim area, which is on the ground floor of the terminal

Passengers using either the escalator or the stairs to the baggage claim area

Passengers walking towards the baggage claim area pass by an area where sometimes quarantine is performed and people step on a mat that’s treated vs. foot and mouth disease (FMD).

Porters line up to welcome arriving passengers and offer their assistance

Information desk at the arrival area

Baggage carousels – there were only two for domestic flights

We arrived in time for the last days of the city’s Kadayawan Festival

Passengers surround the carousel to await their checked-in luggage

There is a screen informing passengers that their baggage are being unloaded. I thought it would have been helpful if Philippine airports provide more details like how its done in other countries. In the latter, they usually announce when the first and last bags are on the carousel for specific flights.

Policemen performing musical numbers at the airport terminal is a pleasing sight and sound and is certainly an effective P.R. initiative for the PNP and the city.

Another look at the still crowded carousel area. It took a while for our luggage to come out.

Hotel desk at the terminal for those inquiring about accommodations or perhaps their airport transfer services.

Another Kadayawan photo op feature at the terminal

Another look at the hotels’ desk at the terminal just before the exit

I took a lot of photos at the airport so I will be sharing these in several posts. More photos soon!

One small step and a giant leap

Here’s a different kind of article that blends three of my favourite topics – transport, space and watches. Its the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. That’s the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It took a lot of calculations for men to finally reach the moon and return safely to earth. There certainly were a lot of factors that affected the trip and these are not as simple as traveling between points A and B like what we usually try to figure out for conventional earthbound transport.

Did you know the first watch on the moon was an Omega Speedmaster chronograph? They needed them and other instruments for their precision that’s required for such sensitive and demanding missions.

Subsequent versions of the moon watch have already had updated movements inside them but these Speedmasters are still the standard in as far as NASA is concerned.

There were actually 2 moon missions in 1969. The first one, Apollo 11, in July and the second, Apollo 12, in November. The next one, Apollo 13, was a failure in terms of the moon mission but succeeded in terms of the astronauts surviving what must have been a terrifying ordeal in space. If you watched the movie, there was a part there that was supposed to have happened where they used it the chronograph of their watch to time a procedure they had to do while troubleshooting their module.

Quite expensive these Omegas are. However, there’s another watch that has been officially recognised as used on a moon landing. That other moon watch is a Bulova (sorry Rolex but the watch that was supposed to have been brought to the moon was more an accessory or memento than an instrument actually used by an astronaut on the moon). Here’s a piece associated with the 4th (Apollo 15 in 1971):

Back of a Bulova moon watch model stating the mission when it was used.

Advisories and policies pertaining to EASTS 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The 13th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) will be held from September 9-12, 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. However, with the bombings last April 2019, a lot of people mainly prospective participants have worried about the security situation in the city. The local society in the Philippines, the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP), also communicated its members’ concerns to the EASTS Secretariat. While TSSP received informal correspondence on the situation and assessment by the secretariat, only recently has the EASTS policy been released:

http://easts.info/policy-about-easts-2019-conference/

In addition to this, the organisers have sent the following email to assure prospective participants about the security situation in the city and country, which I quote below:

“Dear Author,

Thank you for submitting a paper for EASTS 2019, the 13th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies hosted by Sri Lanka Society of Transport & Logistics (SLSTL). We are pleased that EASTS has decided to continue with hosting the conference in Sri Lanka, despite the unfortunate incident, that took place on the 21st of April 2019 taking into consideration the rapidly improving situation in Sri Lanka.

As the host institution I write to encourage your participation and wish to convey that the decision to continue was made based on the following facts and security measures currently in place.

Current Situation
·       There have been no further terror attacks since 21st April the day of the Easter bombings.
·       Security Forces have identified those responsible and arrests have been made both in SL and overseas.
·       The attacked churches (St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church, Katuwapitiya and Zion Church, Batticaloa) and hotels (The Kingsbury, Shangri-La Colombo and Cinnamon Grand Hotel) are now restored, refurbished and opened to the public.
·       Emergency has been lifted and the country is functioning normally.
·       All schools, universities, Government and private workplaces, hotels, public places, etc. have implemented body and bag/luggage scanning.

Travel Advisory
·       UK relaxes travel advisory to Sri Lanka
           https://economynext.com/UK_relaxes_travel_advisory_to_Sri_Lanka-3-14701.html
·       India relaxes travel advisory to Sri Lanka
           https://economynext.com/India_relaxes_travel_advisory_to_Sri_Lanka-3-14596-7.html
·       Switzerland relaxes travel restrictions to Sri Lanka
           http://www.colombopage.com/archive_19A/May28_1559020675CH.php
·       China lifts travel advisory on Sri Lanka
           https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/05/26/china-lifts-travel-advisory-on-sri-lanka/
·       Australia relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
            https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/06/14/australia-relaxes-travel-advisory-on-sri-lanka/
·       Italy relaxes travel advisory
            http://www.dailynews.lk/2019/05/31/local/187125/italy-relaxes-travel-advisory
·       Germany soften travel advisories on Sri Lanka
            http://www.dailymirror.lk/business-news/India–Germany-and-Switzerland-soften-travel-advisories-on-Sri-Lanka/273-168105

Hotel Security
Hotel security has been strengthened and meetings are held periodically. SLSTL is satisfied that all the nominated hotels and the Waters’ Edge, the site of the conference have made arrangement that allow a safe environment for the conference to be conducted. See below article in this regard The Kingsbury stands strong.
http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/The-Kingsbury-stands-strong/27-677814

Government Support
In order to solicit the highest level of Government support for the conference, Prof. Tetsuo Yai, President, EASTS and Prof. Shinya Hanaoka, Deputy Secretary General, EASTS have also been invited to make a personal visit to Sri Lanka to meet the relevant Government Ministers and Heads of Security Establishments ahead of the conference to finalize arrangements.

As such we are confident that Sri Lanka is now very much safer than before the incident and we encourage you to take part in the conference without fear.

lovesrilanka.org / #LoveSriLanka
http://lovesrilanka.org/

We look forward to welcoming you in Sri Lanka for EASTS 2019.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,
Prof. Amal S. Kumarage                                                                         
President – Sri Lanka Society of Transport and Logistics (SLSTL)
Senior Professor, Department of Transport & Logistics, University of Moratuwa”

 

Here is the link to the EASTS page providing information about the conference: http://easts.info/easts-conference/

I am among those looking forward to traveling to Sri Lanka this coming September. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and I became familiar with it mainly through a close friend I met when we were students in Japan. We still keep in touch through email after he moved with his family. They are now residing in Australia.